Election ‘won’t affect Sino-US relations’: Li
Premier Li Keqiang voiced confidence on Wednesday over Beijing’s ties with Washington, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election later this year.
He made the remarks when asked about Sino-US ties at his annual news conference at the end of the two sessions.
He said the US election campaign has been lively and has attracted widespread attention. “I believe that no matter who gets into the White House in the end, the underlying trend of China-US ties will not change,” Li said.
“It has been several decades since the two countries established diplomatic relations, and the relationship has seen lots of ups and downs, but it has always been moving forward, which I believe is the underlying trend.”
He said many people only saw differences between the two countries and “overlooked one very important thing that happened last year” — China became the US’ top trading partner, with two-way trade reaching $560 billion.
“This in itself shows that the common interests between the two countries are constantly expanding, and far outweigh their differences,” he said.
To ensure the healthy development of these ties, Li said both countries need to follow the principles of equality and mutual benefit, such as in negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of US studies at Renmin University of China, said that as both the Chinese and US economies face increasing uncertainties, “it is more urgent than in the past for the two nations to work together and actively handle challenges”.
Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the premier had made a “very important strategic judgment” that “the common interests between China and the US far overweigh their differences”, given the complex situation in bilateral ties.
On China’s relations with the Asia-Pacific region, Li said Beijing sees no contradiction between its insistence on safeguarding its territory and its desire for peace and stability in the region.
“China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development and ... will not waver in its resolve to uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity, and these two are not in conflict.”
He said Beijing hopes all countries in the region and outside it, including the US, will work together to uphold regional stability.