China and the US should handle “sensitive issues” in their bilateral ties properly, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday told visiting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as he called cooperation the “only correct choice” for providing a “new start” to their relations.
Xi’s assertion came amidst a number of contentious issues in Sino-US relations, including the South China Sea, the status of Taiwan, trade as well as the North Korean missile and nuclear threats.
“We should properly handle and manage sensitive issues to promote the healthy and stable development of sino-US relationship from a new start,” Xi told Tillerson in Beijing.
Cooperation is the “only correct” choice for both the countries, Xi said apparently referring to anti-China rhetoric by US President Donald Trump.
Trump had branded China a currency manipulator stealing American jobs and also threatened to impose 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese goods.
In his meeting with Tillerson on Sunday, Xi said the two sides should grasp the general direction for the development of China-US relations in an attitude responsible for history and future generations.
He suggested that the two countries increase strategic trust and mutual understanding, review bilateral ties from long-term and strategic perspectives and expand fields of cooperation for win-win outcomes, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The two countries should also enhance coordination on regional hotspot issues, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns and encourage friendly exchanges, Xi said as he invited Trump to China.
Responding to Xi’s invitation, Tillerson said Trump placed a “very high value on the communications that have already occurred” between the two presidents.
“He looks forward to enhancing that understanding in the opportunity for a visit in the future,” Tillerson said.
“We know that through further dialogue we will achieve a greater understanding that will lead to a strengthening of the ties between China and the US, and set the tone for our future relationship of cooperation,” he said.
Ahead of Tillerson’s visit to China, Trump also put out a tweet to criticise Beijing’s role in dealing with North Korea.
“North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been playing the United States for years. China has done little to help,” Trump tweeted.
However, Tillerson on Saturday held lengthy round of “frank and candid” talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
After talks, Tillerson said the US would work with China to deal with threats posed by North Korea, which is also a close ally of Beijing.
Tillerson visited South Korea on Friday and cautioned North Korea that all options are on the table to deal with Pyongyang’s provocative nuclear and missile programmes.