In phone call, Xi tells Trump co­op­er­a­tion is ‘only choice’

Trump will not treat bi­lat­eral trade ‘child­ishly’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping told US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump that co­op­er­a­tion was the only choice for re­la­tions be­tween the world’s two largest economies, with Trump say­ing the two had es­tab­lished a “clear sense of mu­tual re­spect”. There has been in­tense spec­u­la­tion over the im­pact of Trump’s win on is­sues fac­ing the two coun­tries, from global trade and cli­mate change to the se­cu­rity bal­ance in the Asia-Pa­cific.

Trump lam­basted China through­out the US elec­tion cam­paign, drum­ming up head­lines with his pledges to slap 45 per­cent tar­iffs on im­ported Chi­nese goods and to la­bel the coun­try a cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tor on his first day in of­fice. His elec­tion has in­jected uncer­tainty into re­la­tions at a time when Beijing hopes for sta­bil­ity as it faces daunt­ing re­form chal­lenges at home, slow­ing growth and a lead­er­ship reshuf­fle of its own that will put a new party elite around Xi in late 2017.

In their first in­ter­ac­tion since the US elec­tion, Chi­nese state me­dia said Xi told Trump in a tele­phone call yes­ter­day that as the world’s largest de­vel­op­ing and de­vel­oped economies, there were many ar­eas where China and the United States could co­op­er­ate. “The facts prove that co­op­er­a­tion is the only cor­rect choice for China and the United States,” China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cited Xi as say­ing. Xi’s re­marks were a re­it­er­a­tion of phras­ing typ­i­cally used by Beijing to de­scribe bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

The two sides must “pro­mote the two coun­tries’ eco­nomic devel­op­ment and global eco­nomic growth” and “push for bet­ter devel­op­ment go­ing for­ward in China-US re­la­tions”, Xi said. “Dur­ing the call, the lead­ers es­tab­lished a clear sense of mu­tual re­spect for one an­other, and Pres­i­dent-elect Trump stated that he be­lieves the two lead­ers will have one of the strong­est re­la­tion­ships for both coun­tries mov­ing for­ward,” a state­ment from Trump’s pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion of­fice said.

The two agreed to main­tain close com­mu­ni­ca­tions and meet soon, CCTV said. Xi had con­grat­u­lated Trump in a mes­sage de­liv­ered shortly af­ter his sur­prise elec­tion vic­tory last week. The Global Times, a na­tion­al­ist tabloid pub­lished by the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s Peo­ple’s Daily news­pa­per, said if Trump slapped China with heavy tar­iffs it would “par­a­lyze” bi­lat­eral trade. “When the time comes, large or­ders for Boe­ing planes would switch to Europe, US auto sales in China would face set­backs, Ap­ple phones would es­sen­tially be crowded out, and US soy­beans and corn would be erad­i­cated from China,” the pa­per said in a com­men­tary.

“Trump, com­ing from a busi­ness back­ground, is very as­tute. We do not be­lieve he will treat China-US trade so child­ishly.” China has sig­naled it will pro­mote plans for re­gional trade in­te­gra­tion, vow­ing to seek sup­port for a Beijing-backed Asia-Pa­cific free trade area at a sum­mit in Peru later this month, af­ter Trump’s win dashed hopes for the US-led Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP).

Trump’s crit­i­cism of US al­lies, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, for free-rid­ing on US se­cu­rity guar­an­tees, has deep­ened anx­i­ety among Wash­ing­ton’s al­lies about its com­mit­ment to post-war se­cu­rity ar­range­ments in the face of a ris­ing China and volatile North Korea. Trump ap­pears to be seek­ing quick ways to with­draw the United States from a global ac­cord to com­bat cli­mate change, which has been billed by China and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama as a key area for co­op­er­a­tion. — Reuters

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