FM: Xi-Trump phone call sends positive signal

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/2 23:18:40

More consistent action needed from Washington: analysts

The positive signals which the Thursday phone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump sent should be treasured and followed by more consistent actions from Washington since the bilateral ties still face uncertainties mainly caused by the US, analysts said on Friday.

The two leaders on Thursday spoke on the phone about trade and the Korean Peninsula issue, while agreeing to meet one-on-one at the upcoming G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

"The conversation was quite positive. The two countries' leaders had a long and deep discussion and sufficiently exchanged views on issues of mutual concern," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Friday. 

Analysts said the phone call, which came half a year after their previous call on May 8, shows the resilience of the bilateral ties and proves that the communication mechanism between the two sides remains effective and respected by both sides as an ideal channel to resolve disputes.

The telephone conversation was held at the invitation of Trump, who also said that the US attaches importance to US-China economic and trade cooperation and would like to continue to expand exports to China, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

Positive gestures could be read from the Trump administration and both sides should seize the positive momentum and focus on areas of cooperation instead of disputes, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

What differentiates China-US relations with other bilateral ties is the prominent influence of interactions between their leaders, especially when their relations suffer uncertainties and difficulties, Li said.

The conversation shows that the two sides are back on the right track of resolving disputes through negotiations, said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. Ruan noted that despite the complexity of the relations, the two sides should always focus on the bigger picture.

Confidence and concerns

The two countries have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars on each other's goods and Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports to the US if the disputes are not resolved, Reuters reported.

The two sides have disagreed on trade issues for some time, Xi noted, saying that it has caused a negative impact on the relevant industries in both countries as well as on global trade. This is not what China wants to see, he said.

Xi urged the economic teams of the two countries to increase their contacts and consult each other on issues of mutual concern to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with a delegation of US senators and congressmen led by Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday. Stressing that China will firmly deepen its reform and further open up to the world, Li said China's development will provide greater opportunities and a broader market for other countries.

Alexander told Li that their visit to China is to "show respect to a great country and great people." The US and China "are competitors but not adversaries," he said.

The US senators and congressmen also said that initiating a trade war is not the way to resolve problems.

But within hours of the phone conversation and the meeting of the delegation, the US Justice Department took aim at another Chinese firm it accused of unfair practices, part of an across-the-board pressure campaign by the Trump administration against China, Reuters reported Friday.

"Though disputes and different voices on policies toward China remain within the Trump administration, US government bodies should be consistent and clear about their tone and deeds to avoid sending confusing, messy or wrong messages," Li Haidong stressed. 

Chinese mainland stock markets rallied on Friday, reflecting investor optimism in US-China trade tensions following the two leaders' phone call and China's top leadership's pledge for proactive measures to bolster the economy and support the development of the country's non-public sector and private companies.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed at 2,676.48 on Friday, up 2.7 percent, while the Shenzhen Component Index gained 3.96 percent to close at 7,867.54. The ChiNext Index, China's NASDAQ-style start-up board of growth enterprises, surged nearly 5 percent, boosted by positive market sentiment.

The news also boosted both onshore and offshore Chinese yuan on Friday.

Onshore yuan gained 600 pips to 6.89 against the US dollar while the offshore edged up more than 300 pips on daily basis to close at 6.883 against the US dollar.

Xinhua contributed to this story


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