China and the US suffer a “trust deficit” that Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) trip to Washington could help ease, a Chinese diplomat said in a speech published yesterday, playing down Chinese fears about a US “pivot” toward Asia.
Xi, widely expected to be China’s next president, will visit the US starting Tuesday next week, going to the farming state of Iowa where he stayed briefly in 1985 and to Los Angeles, the Chinese foreign ministry said, confirming an earlier statement from the White House.
The speech by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) was the latest sign that Beijing wants Xi’s visit to keep to an upbeat tone, despite frictions that troubled relations, most recently over its decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution on the increasingly bloody conflict in Syria.
However, Cui said mutual misgivings have clouded relations between the world’s two biggest economies, despite deep trade ties and greater foreign policy dialogue.
“There is certainly a trust deficit between China and the United States,” Cui said in the speech in Shanghai on Monday that was posted on the foreign ministry’s Web site.
“Each time the Sino-US relationship hits problems, there are voices that fundamentally doubt the relationship. There are constantly those who want to overturn this relationship that can truly be called too big to fail,” said Cui, whose portfolio includes overseeing ties with the US.
“Therefore, nurturing and deepening mutual trust remains a major issue that both sides must give full attention to and seriously address,” he added.
Xi’s visit, including a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday next week, appears unlikely to bring big advances on Syria, Iran and other sources of friction, including human rights and trade imbalances.
Xi will also visit Turkey and Ireland after the US, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin (劉為民) told a daily briefing. He did not give specific dates for each stop.
While Liu would not say what specific topics would be on the agenda, he did express unhappiness with Obama’s recent announcement to create an enforcement unit to crack down on unfair trade practices in China and other countries.
“Exerting pressure unilaterally is irresponsible behavior and not conducive to resolving problems,” Liu said.