Fri, Feb 17, 2012 - Page 1 News List

US must respect China interests: Xi

MAKING A POINT:Xi made sure to bring up the ‘Taiwan issue’ at meetings with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping speaks during a luncheon of the US-China Business Council in Washington on Wednesday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) warned the US not to support independence movements in Taiwan.

In a short, but major speech on Wednesday to an audience of business leaders in Washington, Xi indicated that Taiwan remained a central concern in Beijing’s dealings with the US.

He said that Washington should abide by the “one China” principle and take “concrete actions to oppose Taiwanese independence.”

“The world is currently undergoing profound changes and China and the United States face shared challenges and shared responsibilities in international affairs,” Xi said.

“We should further use bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to enhance coordination between China and the US on hotspots,” he added.

Addressing the US-China Business Council in his only public speech during his current US visit, Xi said: “History demonstrates that whenever each side handles relatively well the issues bearing on the other side’s core and major interests, then Sino-US relations are quite smooth and stable.”

“But when it is the contrary, there are incessant troubles,” he added.

Although Xi appeared to be concentrating on Taiwan, he also said that he hoped the US would “truly implement its recognition” that Tibet is part of China and oppose Tibetan independence.

“China welcomes the United States playing a constructive role in promoting the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, and at the same time we hope the US side will truly respect the interests and concerns of countries in the region, including China,” Xi said.

The speech ended Xi’s two-day Washington visit and he flew out of the US capital later to spend two days in Iowa, before moving on for two days in California.

He will leave the US at the end of the week for Europe.

On Tuesday, Xi met with US Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the White House for nearly two hours, followed by a 90-minute session in the Oval Office with US President Barack Obama.

At both of these meetings, Taiwan was discussed.

According to sources close to the US Department of State, there were detailed talks with Clinton and Biden on arms sales.

Some US briefers did not mention Taiwan as a subject of discussion with Obama, but the Chinese embassy in Washington went out of its way on Wednesday to carry a statement on its Web site about the interaction.

It said that Xi had reiterated Beijing’s position on “the Taiwan issue” and urged Washington to conform to the spirit of the three joint communiques “underpinning China-US relations.”

The statement said that Xi had urged Obama to safeguard “with concrete action” the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait.

“Xi said the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and remains as always the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations,” it said.

According to the statement, Xi had earlier asked Biden to ensure that the US side “properly and cautiously” handled Taiwan to “avoid damage and disturbance to China-US relations.”

However, Biden repeated US concern over subsidies for Chinese state-owned companies and the forced transfer of technology as a condition for US companies doing business in China. He also described the Chinese currency as still “substantially undervalued” against the US dollar, which the US says hurts its exporters.

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