Xi, Trump talk about pressing issues during phone call

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/3 23:58:40

All parties should work toward same goal on North Korea issue: Xi

Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday, exchanging views on bilateral ties, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg.

Xi said on the phone that Sino-US ties have realized important achievements since his meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Florida in April, but that relations have also been affected by some negative factors, China Central Television reported Monday.

Chinese experts said Washington's recent use of thorny issues to test China, including sending warships near Chinese islands in the South China Sea and approving arms sales to Taiwan, indicates that the Trump administration may take a tougher line on China, which could cast a shadow over bilateral ties.

China hopes that the US will fulfill its promises and deal with issues related to Taiwan in accordance with the one-China principle and the three joint communiqués of China and the US, Xi said.

Trump said that Sino-US ties have a promising future and the two countries share great interests. He reiterated the US government's position on the one-China policy has never changed.

Despite China's firm opposition, the Trump administration notified the US Congress of its plans to go ahead with a controversial arms package to Taiwan, valued at $1.42 billion, the first such sale under Trump.

"Unlike China, the US government has always focused on the problems between the two countries. The elites in the US concluded that the US' previous China policy was a failure and they may adjust it to become tougher," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday.

Li said that the US once hoped to change China by making the country part of the US-dominated multilateral mechanism, but after this failed it is now adjusting its policy by using some long-standing thorny issues to put pressure on China.

The US sent missile destroyer the USS Stethem to the South China Sea on Sunday. China's National Defense Ministry said on Monday China has sent naval vessels and jets to "warn off" the US vessel which was sailing close to China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands.

"All these provocations happened before Xi's meeting with Trump at the G20 summit on July 7 and 8. This is one of Trump's tricks - he hopes to set the agenda by displaying all the problems first to bargain during the meeting," Li said.

"Judging by its recent moves, the US also wants to gain more benefits before the end of the 100-day action plan," Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the China Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The US and China agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access to US financial firms and expand trade in beef and chicken among other steps as part of Washington's drive to cut its trade deficit with Beijing, Reuters reported.

The deals are the first results of 100 days of trade talks that began in April when Xi met Trump in Florida.

Committed to denuclearization

The Korean nuclear issue was also discussed during Xi's phone call with Trump.

Xi stressed that China firmly opposes any violation of relevant UN resolutions and hopes all parties will exercise restraint to avoid exacerbating the situation.

Only if all parties shoulder their responsibilities and work toward the same goal, can the North Korean nuclear issue be settled and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula be realized, Xi said, adding that China would like to make efforts for regional peace with all parties, including the US.

"Trump has made the North Korean issue a bellwether for Sino-US ties and put too much pressure on China to solve the problem, which is naïve and unrealistic," Li said.

The Trump administration has chosen some key issues to intensify pressure on China, but it should also know that China shares common interests in solving the problem, Liu said, noting China's concerns on the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.

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