Is­sues that can­not be solved im­me­di­ately should be shelved tem­po­rar­ily, says Li

New Straits Times - - World -

CHINA’S premier, Li Ke­qiang, said yes­ter­day that Bei­jing does not want to see a trade war with the United States and urged talks be­tween both sides to achieve com­mon ground.

“We do not want to see any trade war break­ing out be­tween the two coun­tries. That would not make our trade fairer,” Li said at his an­nual news con­fer­ence at the end of the an­nual meet­ing of China’s Par­lia­ment.

“Our hope on the Chi­nese side is that, no mat­ter what bumps this re­la­tion­ship hits, we hope it will con­tinue to move for­ward in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion,” he said.

“We may have dif­fer­ent sta­tis­ti­cal meth­ods, but I be­lieve what­ever dif­fer­ences we may have we can all sit down and talk to each other and work to­gether to find so­lu­tions,” Li said.

Is­sues that can­not im­me­di­ately be solved should be “shelved” for the time be­ing, he added.

US me­dia have re­ported that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping will meet in Florida next month.

Trump has at­tacked China on is­sues rang­ing from trade to the South China Sea and what he per­ceives as China’s lack of in­ter­est in rein­ing in nu­clear-armed North Korea.

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, Trump had threat­ened to la­bel China a cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tor and im­pose huge tar­iffs on im­ports of Chi­nese goods.

He has not fol­lowed through on ei­ther move yet, but the US Trea­sury will is­sue its semi-an­nual cur­rency re­port next month.

Last month, Trump held his first face-to-face talks with a mem­ber of the Chi­nese lead­er­ship, top diplo­mat Yang Jiechi, who out­ranks For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi. The White House said it was a chance to dis­cuss shared se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and a pos­si­ble meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Xi.

Li also re­it­er­ated in his re­marks that China-US re­la­tions are founded upon ad­her­ence to the “one China” pol­icy, un­der which Wash­ing­ton ac­knowl­edges the Chi­nese po­si­tion that there is only one China, of which Tai­wan is a part. The “one China” pol­icy “has re­mained un­shaken despite chang­ing cir­cum­stances”, he said, adding that “this foun­da­tion can­not be un­der­mined”.

Trump in­censed Bei­jing in De­cem­ber by talk­ing to Tai­wan Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen and say­ing the US did not have to stick to the pol­icy, vaguely sug­gest­ing that he may aban­don the pol­icy as part of ne­go­ti­a­tions for a bet­ter trade deal with China.

Li also said China did not seek a sus­tained trade sur­plus with the Euro­pean Union, and that the im­bal­ance “would clearly im­prove” if Europe ex­ported more high­tech prod­ucts to China.


Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang at the

an­nual meet­ing of China’s Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress in

Bei­jing yes­ter­day.

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