Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

US Presses China on Religious Rights, South China Sea, Taiwan

FILE China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 9 November 2017 President Xi meets Henry Kissinger - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Kenny Thornton | 10 November, 2018, 17:53

Asserting that U.S. -China bilateral trade is "critical to the world economy", a top Chinese diplomat said Beijing has kept its door open for trade talks with the Trump administration, as the two top global economies are locked in a trade war.

Since then relations have soured and they have become embroiled in a major trade war in which the United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and China has retaliated with tariffs on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Trump and Xi announced the updated negotiation framework a year ago and the first meeting in the format was held in June 2017 in Washington, when the two sides discussed issues including North Korea and the South China Sea.

"We made clear that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows", Mattis said.

In late September, U.S. and Chinese vessels almost collided off near a disputed reef.

The move, believed to be the first time the USA had directly addressed the issue, came in a statement recapping high-level talks between the two sides in Washington earlier in the day.

As the world today is undergoing unprecedented changes that have not been seen in the past 100 years, it is the worldwide community's expectation that China-U.S. relations will continue to move forward in the right direction, the Chinese president said. Pentagon Chief, James Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe also took part in the talks.

And a high-profile meeting could occur in the coming days, when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.

"China is committed to working with the USA to achieve a non-confrontational, conflict-free, mutually respectful cooperation in which both sides win", it quoted Yang as saying.

"China sticks to the road of peaceful development, and is still committed to the building of a relationship with the United States that features no conflicts, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation", Xi said.

Gabrielle Union welcomes baby girl!
At the time of this writing, Union and Wade have not yet revealed further details about their baby girl, including her name. The two already raise three boys, including Wade's nephew and two sons from his previous marriage.

Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to USA business and a gaping trade deficit. China and the US should better understand each other and enhance communication to expand mutual benefits while managing disagreements.

But just as he was speaking, a top advisor to Trump, Peter Navarro, vowed to press China hard on trade.

Trump has slapped $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of nefarious trading practices.

Beijing has defended its internment camps in western Xinjiang that human rights groups say now house around 1 million Muslim men and women.

Yun Sun, a China expert at the Stimson Center think tank, said Beijing is uncertain about what exactly Trump wants out of a trade deal, but hopes that with USA midterm elections out of the way, the mercurial American president may be more inclined to reach a compromise.

Despite twists and turns, Sino-U.S. relations have generally maintained steady progress over the past four decades, Xi said.

Calling Kissinger an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi applauded the USA diplomat's contribution to bilateral relations.

Yang defended China's policies in Xinjiang as measures against "ethnic separatist activities and violent terrorist crimes" but said it was a Chinese internal affair and foreign governments should not interfere.

However, it temporarily allowed India, China and five other major importers to continue buying Iranian oil as they showed "significant reduction" in oil purchase from the Persian Gulf country.

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