Meeting between Chinese commerce minister and US ambassador shows China and US are touching on ‘pragmatic issues’: expert
Washington should correct perception, stop suppression to maintain ‘positive signal’: experts
Published: May 11, 2023 11:10 PM
China US

China US

China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao met with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Thursday at the request of the latter, while officials and experts called on the US to walk its talk and stop suppression, to maintain the "positive signal."

They stressed that the US should not express its intention to communicate while also suppressing China, and they urged the US to correct its perception of China and respect China's bottom lines.
Wang and Burns exchanged views on economic and trade relations between China and the US, as well as economic and trade issues of respective concern, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement.

The meeting, coming just days after Foreign Minister Qin Gang's talks with the US ambassador, is a good step for bilateral ties as it signals the two are touching on some "pragmatic things" that may bear fruit, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

During their talks in Beijing on Monday, Qin told Burns that the "top priority is to stabilize China-US relations, to avoid a downward spiral, and to prevent accidents between the two major countries."

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had candid, in-depth, substantive and constructive discussions on bilateral ties in Vienna on Wednesday and Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The two sides held discussions on removing obstacles in China-US relations and stabilizing the relationship from deterioration and agreed to continue to make good use of this strategic communication channel.

China has been taking the initiative to generate goodwill through the meetings while expecting Burns to further contribute to promoting the normalization of exchanges between China and the US after reaching his first year in office and being able to fully experience China's stance on promoting win-win cooperation, Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Thursday said that the key for further progress is that the US should not communicate with China on the one hand while suppressing the nation on the other hand. It cannot say one thing but do another. 

Wang made the remarks at a regular press briefing, responding to the Biden administration's reported proposals of meetings and calls seeking a possible conversation between the top leaders while promoting meetings and calls among officials, with views saying China has responded "tepidly" to the US requests.

Wang urged the US to correct its perception of China, respect China's bottom line and stop undermining China's sovereignty, security and development interests, while moving in the same direction with China and pushing bilateral relations back on the right track of healthy and stable development.

MOFCOM Spokesperson Shu Jueting on Thursday noted that China's criticism over the US government's discriminatory subsidy policies and administrative measures at a WTO meeting on May 2 was implementing the power granted by the organization, while urging the US to strictly fulfill its obligations under WTO rules, correct the wrong practices as soon as possible and effectively safeguard the multilateral trading system.

Shu said China firmly opposed Biden's reportedly potential signing of an executive order to limit investment by American businesses in Chinese firms involving in some high-tech sectors such as semiconductor, AI and quantum computing with G7 backing during the upcoming G7 Summit.

Shu said that such a move seriously violates the principles of the market economy and fair competition, affects normal business decisions, undermines the international economic and trade order, and disrupts the stability of the global industry and supply chains.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will reportedly meet with Wang Wentao later this month, which would likely occur on the sidelines of a gathering of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers from May 25 to 26, according to Bloomberg on Wednesday. 

There are some common interests for both of the nations at the moment though challenges are also prominent, which means it's highly likely that some consensus could be achieved in some certain areas at first, Gao said.

For instance, both are hoping for a normalization of personnel exchanges, and punitive tariffs the US has imposed on Chinese products should also be scrapped, the expert noted.