China open to trade talks with U.S.

Frederick Owens
November 10, 2018

"Rather we want to ensure that China acts responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity of each of our two countries". The U.S. also seeks action from China on the export of a synthetic form of opioids called fentanyl that is a scourge of drug addiction in America.

Despite the airing of grievances, the talks appeared aimed at controlling the damage to relations that has worsened in recent months and at paving the way for an encounter between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina at the end of November.

"The United States will meet with whomever the United States wants to meet with", the official said when asked whether China was warning against such a meeting.

A "frank" exchange of views can be expected in top-level diplomatic and security talks between the United States and China on Friday, including on issues such as human rights and the South China Sea, the USA ambassador to China said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will meet with their counterparts Yang Jiechi and Wei Fenghe at the State Department.

"Regarding our strong ties with a democratic Taiwan, 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's statement read at the State Department's website.

The talks were due to be held in Beijing last month but were postponed after Washington announced new arms sales to Taiwan, and after a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in late September in what the U.S. Navy called an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver".

"We made clear that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", Mattis said.

The Trump administration has criticized China's militarization of the South China Sea, which is a vital waterway for world trade.

Calling Kissinger an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi applauded the USA diplomat's contribution to bilateral relations.

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Pompeo and Mattis also told China to stop militarizing the islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing has steadily been building artificial islands and military installations to cement its claim to the highly contested territory.

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".

But just as he was speaking, a top advisor to Trump, Peter Navarro, vowed to press China hard on trade.

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.

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

"The Chinese side has kept the channel of dialogue open".

Branstad said they would also discuss "strategic security" and avoiding accidents between the two militaries.

Both presidents have voiced optimism they can break the trade impasse between the world's two biggest economies.

China and the USA have put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's US$500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the dispute can not be resolved. Retaliatory measures quickly followed. "And let's not forget how our two sides have successfully navigated through previous rough patches in our economic and trade relations", he said.

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