US-China pick up trade, se­cu­rity talks

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Wash­ing­ton – The United States and China re­sumed top-level talks yes­ter­day af­ter months of spi­ralling ten­sion, look­ing for a way for­ward on dis­putes from trade to mil­i­tary fric­tion.

The de­layed meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton came weeks be­fore US leader Don­ald Trump is ex­pected to meet his Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Xi Jin­ping, on the side­lines of the Group of 20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina, with both sides hop­ing they can an­nounce some progress.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis were to spend yes­ter­day morn­ing with two high-rank­ing Chi­nese pol­i­cy­mak­ers, days af­ter a con­gres­sional elec­tion in which Trump painted China as a bo­gey­man.

A planned trip by Mat­tis to Bei­jing last month was can­celled amid ris­ing mil­i­tary ten­sions be­tween the Pa­cific pow­ers. But yes­ter­day, China’s Min­is­ter of De­fence Gen­eral Wei Fenghe was to visit the Pen­tagon for a cer­e­mo­nial hon­our cor­don.

The de­fence chiefs were to hold talks be­fore­hand at the state depart­ment jointly with Pom­peo and se­nior Com­mu­nist Party of­fi­cial Yang Jiechi, a long­time ar­chi­tect of Chi­nese for­eign pol­icy who for­merly served as am­bas­sador to Wash­ing­ton.

The talks will fo­cus on se­cu­rity, but trade is at the heart of ten­sions. Trump has slapped $250 bil­lion (R3.5 tril­lion) worth of tar­iffs on Chi­nese goods, ac­cus­ing Bei­jing of ne­far­i­ous trad­ing prac­tices, prompt­ing re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures.

While some of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s com­ments on China have prompted com­men­ta­tors to draw par­al­lels to the Cold War, the US am­bas­sador to Bei­jing, Terry Branstad, said the US was not seek­ing con­fronta­tion for its own sake. “We want a con­struc­tive, re­sults-ori­ented re­la­tion­ship with China. The US is not try­ing to con­tain China, but we want fair­ness and rec­i­proc­ity.” –

The US is not try­ing to con­tain China, but we want fair­ness and rec­i­proc­ity. Terry Branstad US am­bas­sador to Bei­jing

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