• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

We should be partners not adversaries — China tells US

XI_Jinping

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said China and the United States of America should be partners rather than enemies in order to deepen their relations and move forward being the world’s superpowers.

Xi told Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State during a meeting signalling the end of his three-day visit to China at Beijing’s cavernous Great Hall of the People on Friday.

The two countries seek to continue to stabilise rocky relations and expand communication – including on a host of contentions from technology to Taiwan.

“China would like to see a confident, open and prosperous United States. We hope that the United States will view China’s development in a positive light,” Xi told Blinken.

“Once this fundamental problem is solved, China-US relations will truly get better and move forward,” he said.

“China and the US should be partners rather than adversaries; help each other succeed rather than harm each other,” he added.

Xi’s comments come as Chinese officials bristle at actions Washington has taken in the name of national security in the face of an increasingly assertive China, but which Beijing sees as meant to suppress its development.

Those have included US controls on the export to China of high-tech goods that could have military uses, as well as curbs on US investment in certain high-tech sectors in China.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden signed a bill that could lead to a nationwide ban on the social media platform TikTok if the company’s Chinese parent ByteDance doesn’t sell it – legislation Beijing has previously decried.

Blinken told Xi the US was “committed to maintain and strengthen lines of communications” with China and “deal responsibly with our differences, so we would not have any miscommunications, misperceptions and any miscalculations.”

Examples of recent progress Blinken cited included “restoring military-to-military communications, counternarcotics and thinking together about the futures of artificial intelligence.”

Their meeting followed five hours of face time between Blinken and counterpart Wang Yi, which both sides characterized as “substantive and constructive.”

But Wang was also clear about sharp tensions that still exist between the world’s two superpowers. As their meetings got underway, Wang said China and the US face a choice between stability and a “downward spiral.”

“Should China and the United States keep to the right direction of moving forward with stability or return to a downward spiral?

“This is a major question before our two countries, and tests our sincerity and ability,” Wang told Blinken during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, after saying US-China ties were “beginning to stabilize.”

“Should our two sides lead international cooperation against global issues and achieve win-win for all? Or engage in rivalry and confrontation – or even slide into conflict, which would be a lose-lose for all?” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

During a closed-door meeting later, Wang accused the US of “taking endless measures to suppress China’s economy, trade, science and technology” and over-hyping recent concerns about China’s industrial “overcapacity” flooding global markets.

“(US measures are) not fair competition, but containment, and it is not removing risks, but creating risks,” he said, according to a readout from Chinese state media.

In his comments to Wang ahead of the closed door session, Blinken pointed to a “shared responsibility” between the two countries to “make sure that we’re as clear as possible about the areas where we have differences.”

“I hope we can make some progress on the issues that our presidents agreed we should cooperate on, but also clarify our differences, our intents, and make very clear to each other where we stand,” Blinken said.

The trip is the latest in a string of high-level engagements that included a summit meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in California in November, following a period of immense tension.

Both sides also discussed next steps on commitments made by the two leaders on advancing cooperation on counternarcotics, military-to-military communication, talks on artificial intelligence risks and safety, and facilitating people-to-people exchanges, the US State Department said following the meeting.

Speaking to reporters after his meetings, Blinken said the two countries would hold their first talks on artificial intelligence and its risks “in the coming weeks.”