Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Meeting shows ‘fundamental’ differences with China


Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, right, shows the way to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Photo: Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday cited “fundamental disagreement” with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) during a testy exchange in Beijing that highlighted rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Pompeo’s retort came after Wang accused the US of escalating trade disputes, interfering on Taiwan and meddling in the country’s domestic affairs.

“These actions have damaged our mutual trust, cast a shadow over China-US relations and are completely out of line with the interests of our two peoples,” Wang told his US counterpart.

“The issues that you characterized, we have a fundamental disagreement,” Pompeo said. “We have great concerns about actions that China has taken and I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss each of those today because this is an incredibly important relationship.”

The exchange came as Pompeo arrived in Beijing during an Asian trip focused on North Korea.

China’s public show of displeasure represented one of the strongest signs yet that the widening list of disputes between the US and China could undermine their cooperation on North Korea.

Unlike a trip in June, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) did not grant Pompeo an audience.

Asked whether Xi had declined a meeting because of disagreements between the two sides, Pompeo said: “I expect they’ll also raise the issues that they’re happy with.”

While the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told a news conference that broader tensions would not undermine cooperation on North Korea, Wang told Pompeo that the issue illustrated the importance of maintaining a working relationship.

“I know that you would like to discuss the North Korea issue and other relational issues with me on this visit,” Wang said. “This speaks to the fact that two major powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council need to and should increase communication and cooperation, taking on responsibilities in international society.”

US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert seconded the “unified” approach toward the North, but cited “areas where the United States and China do not agree, including on the South China Sea and human rights.”

Wang’s remarks made clear that China is most concerned about US moves to improve ties with Taiwan.

The US should cease military contacts and halt further arms sales to Taiwan, and it should stop interfering with Chinese efforts to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, he said.

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