Differences on trade at focus as US secretary of state visits China

Beijing: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed points of difference with China regarding unfair trading practices in talks on Thursday with Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Jining, US press reports said.

Blinken pressed, “Chinese officials on a wide range of issues, including its support for Russia, cheap Chinese exports that US officials say threaten American jobs, and Chinese ships’ aggressive manoeuvres in the South China Sea,” the New York Times reported, citing a senior State Department official.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry emphasised that China had always implemented economic and trade cooperation in accordance with market rules. Beijing hoped that the US would respect the principle of fair competition, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing on Thursday.

“We have an obligation for our people and, indeed, an obligation for the world to manage the relationship between our two countries responsibly,” Blinken told Chen as reporters looked on. “That is the obligation that we have and one that we take very seriously.”

The direction from US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was “to deal directly with our differences as we also seek to build cooperation,” Blinken said, referring to the meeting between the two leaders in San Francisco in November.

Chen responded that since diplomatic ties were launched 45 years ago, the relationship had not always been smooth but also had progressed.

“The constructive interactions and the stable relation between China and the US have not only advanced our cooperation and exchange in all different aspects, and also help address global challenges, and helps promote world peace and development,” he said, according to the US State Department.

Blinken later landed in Beijing, where further talks were to be held.

Economic ties have been under strain for some time, with the two countries trading allegations of unfair trading practices.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Chinese companies for supplying goods to Russia that could find use in its war in Ukraine, and a new US law forcing China’s ByteDance to sell its stake in the TikTok video platform has caused irritation in Beijing.


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