Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Respect our choices, China's Xi says ahead of Trump G20 meeting

Respect our choices, China's Xi says ahead of Trump G20 meeting

The U.S. Navy says a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in late September in an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver" near a disputed reef in the South China Sea, where Beijing has sweeping but disputed sovereignty claims.

"I reiterated the USA policy has not changed, and that we are concerned about China's increasing efforts to coerce others constraining Taiwan's worldwide space", Pompeo said.

During a round of high-level talks in Washington, the two sides aired in sometimes blunt terms many of their main differences, including a bitter trade dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China's crackdown on its Muslim minority.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Washington with their Chinese counterparts, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and top foreign affairs official Yang Jiechi, where they discussed North Korea, Iran, the South China Sea, and Taiwan.

The conversations were held in an atmosphere of responsibility and respect, according to Mr. Pompeo, who acknowledged that China and the USA face "significant differences between our nations" in such areas as trade, due to the mutual imposition of billions of dollars in tariffs.

"These issues can be resolved through dialogue and consultation".

Two visiting senior Chinese officials also seized the opportunity to warn publicly that a trade war between the world's two largest economies would end up hurting both sides and to call for keeping channels of communication open to resolve an issue that has unsettled global financial markets.

The U.S. defense chief also said the two sides had "discussed the importance for all military, law enforcement, and civilian vessels and aircraft, including those in the PLA Navy, the Chinese Coast Guard, and the PRC Maritime Militia, to operate in a safe and professional manner, in accordance with global law, as we seek peaceful resolution of all disputes in the South China Sea".

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However, speaking in Singapore at a forum on Wednesday, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said there was a risk of an economic "Iron Curtain" falling between China and the United States unless China carried out reforms and that some people in the United States would like to "divorce" China. "The United States is not trying to contain China, but we want fairness and reciprocity".

Yang met Wednesday with US national security adviser John Bolton and urged that the two sides "manage differences properly" and look to make that summit a success, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Jeffrey Ordaniel, a research fellow at the Pacific Forum, said on Twitter that although the demand by the USA was a first, it was "very unlikely" that China would heed that call.

The disputed sea is a major Asian trade route, where Beijing has landfilled areas for military infrastructure. The annual U.S. -China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was originally set for Beijing last month but had been called off amid rising tensions.

"There is no such problem of freedom of navigation and overflights being obstructed, so to use this issue as an excuse to military action is unjustifiable", he said. "Nor must it lead to conflict", Mattis said. Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $110 million worth of US goods.

China and the United States have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods, jolting global financial markets, and Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

Despite twists and turns, Sino-U.S. relations have generally maintained steady progress over the past four decades, Xi said.

"Foreign countries have no right to interfere", he said.

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