Chinese state councilor meets with U.S. secretary of state on ties

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Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met here with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday to discuss bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern during a two-day visit.

The two sides also agreed to hold the second round of the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in China during the first half of the year, which is a part of the four high-level dialogue mechanisms serving to boost better China-U.S. ties.

Bigger cake for cooperation

China and the United States could properly address their bilateral trade issues through more open markets and "making a bigger cake of cooperation," said Yang, who is on a two-day visit to Washington.

Noting that keeping the positive momentum of the China-U.S. relations is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the common aspirations of international society, Yang said he hoped the U.S. side could meet China halfway to ensure the stable and healthy development of bilateral ties in the long run.

He said the China-U.S. economic and trade relations are reciprocal in nature, bringing huge benefits to the two peoples.

He also urged the two nations to cooperate on such areas as energy, infrastructure construction and the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as enhance coordination on international economic concerns.

For his part, Tillerson said the U.S. side is willing to work with China to fortify and expand reciprocal cooperation, and seek to solve bilateral economic and trade issues in a more effective manner.

China-U.S. trade ties have been bumpy since U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office. The Trump administration has threatened to limit Chinese investment, exports and visa application.

Stephen Roach, a Yale University senior fellow, said "America does not hold the trump card in its economic relations with China," noting that "Getting tough on China while ignoring those consequences could be a blunder of epic proportions."

Four dialogue mechanisms

China and the United States should maintain close contact and make good use of the existing four high-level dialogue channels to further boost ties, Yang said.

In addition to holding the second round of the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in China, Beijing and Washington will hold a second round of dialogues on the economic, social and people-to-people exchanges, and law enforcement and cyber security within the year, Yang said.

The four high-level dialogue mechanisms were established during the Mar-a-Lago meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump at Palm Beach in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida last April.

The four channels have provided opportunities for Chinese and U.S. officials to talk about significant issues ranging from peace and stability in the South China Sea and military-to-military exchanges, to innovation cooperation and cyber crime.

Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, said that compared with previous communication mechanisms, the four dialogues are more outcome-oriented, emphasizing key areas of mutual concern.

Commitment to one-china policy

During the meeting, Tillerson said that the United States remains committed to the one-China policy.

For his part, Yang made China's stance clear on issues like Taiwan, requesting the U.S. side take China's concerns seriously.

Some politicians of the U.S. executive and legislative branches have become increasingly interested in playing the Taiwan card in dealing with U.S.-China relations.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two Taiwan-related bills in January.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has said that the United States should handle the Taiwan issue carefully, noting "the passage of the two bills seriously violates the principles of the one-China policy and three Sino-U.S. joint communiques."

Global support for inter-korean rapport

Yang urged global support for inter-Korean rapport and the continued easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula during the meeting.

China has always been committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintaining its peace and stability, said Yang, adding that issues on the Korean Peninsula should be solved through dialogue and negotiation.

The situation on the peninsula has been undergoing positive changes recently as South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are using the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to resume dialogue.

Despite tensions easing on the Korean Peninsula, Washington has been sticking to a strategy of "maximum pressure" on the DPRK to force it to abandon its nuclear weapons programs, but so far has failed to achieve its goals.

Richard Haass, president of the U.S. think tank Council on Foreign Relations, said it was "a mistake" for the United States to refuse to resume talks with the DPRK, adding that there is too much talk now about preconditions for denuclearization.

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