China fault lines on display as top officials meet

China fault lines on display as top officials meet

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 8, 2018.

Yang outranks the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi.

It is noteworthy that negative voices concerning China have been rising for some time in the United States, Xi said, adding the two countries should have a precise judgment of each other's strategic intentions.

Fault lines between the U.S. and China were on clear display Friday as senior officials challenged each other over the South China Sea, Taiwan, religious freedom and trade just weeks before President Donald Trump is set to meet with President Xi Jinping.

Mattis made clear that this demand go unheeded by Washington, which insists it is acting under worldwide law to preserve access for it and others to the South China Sea.

China and the United States have put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's US$500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

He said the trade issues that exist between America and China are due to different economic structures and development stages in the two countries.

Xi said China and the USA need to make "accurate judgments" of each other's strategic intentions.

Defense Minister Wei reiterated during the press conference that China would take any necessary measures to ensure the eventual unification of Taiwan is not threatened, a statement in response to the sailing of a U.S. warship through the Taiwan Strait for the second time in several months.

Xi told former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger that he and Trump would have "a deep exchange of views" in Argentina, according to the Chinese state news agency.

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"Even as the two countries (US and China) confront important differences in the bilateral relationship, their cooperation remains essential on many, many central issues", Mr. Pompeo said.

"We want this to be a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China", Branstad said.

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.

A senior administration official said Pence's meetings with regional leaders were still being planned, but a meeting between Pence and Chang, Taiwan's envoy to APEC, was not being ruled out.

Pompeo said the United States had also expressed concern about China's approach to Taiwan, particularly its efforts to limit global engagement with the breakaway province.

Still Pompeo also was clear in addressing US concerns, including Beijing's increasingly assertive posture in the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asserted US rights to freedom of navigation but also said the two sides should work together on areas of common interest. Trump has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products, in a push to narrow the US trade deficit and push back against what the USA views as predatory Chinese tactics on the high technology industry.

"A trade war, instead of leading to any solution, will only end up hurting both sides and the global economy", he said.

Pompeo also reiterated US criticism of China's "repression of religious groups", citing treatment of Buddhists in Tibet and minority Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region that has drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

Reflecting growing US concerns about the Chinese cyber threat, a senior USA intelligence official on Thursday accused China of violating a 2015 agreement aimed at stopping cyber espionage through the hacking of government and corporate data. Trump has also threatened to add a tariff on the remainder of China's exports to the United States, worth more than $500bn, if the dispute is not resolved soon.

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