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Cui: China, US in a word? Partners

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-01-25 17:05

In the wake of US labeling China a strategic competitor, envoy speaks

The China-US relationship is preferably one of partners rather than adversaries, said top Chinese envoy to Washington Cui Tiankai, who also said the reunification of the two Koreas is up to the Korean people.

When prompted by Bill Sternberg, editorial page editor of USA Today, to pick a word to describe the relations between Beijing and Washington on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Cui said, "Personally I would prefer the word of partners, or maybe this term is closer to the reality."

The interview took place days after the Trump administration labeled China as a strategic competitor in its National Defense Strategy released on Jan 19, followed by a harsher tone toward Beijing, including a Monday decision to impose steep tariffs on imported solar products and washing machines.

Sternberg said a lot of words had been used to describe the relationship between the world's two largest economies, ranging from partner to rival to adversary, even enemy.

"Partnership means we do have common interests; we have to work together for mutual benefits," Cui said. "For those who say China is bent on world domination, China has no interest in seeking world domination, and I don't think any country can really dominate the world.

"We need the cooperation of all the members of international community, so what we in China are aiming at is really a global community of a shared future."

The Office of the United States Trade Representative said on Monday that US President Donald Trump will impose tariffs of up to 50 percent on imported washers for the next three years and of up to 30 percent on solar cells and modules for the next four years. China's Ministry of Commerce called the move an "abuse" of trade remedies.

"We are certainly against any unilateral protectionist measures and we have the right to take measures to protect our legitimate interests," Cui said. "At the same time, we are firmly against any trade war, because we believe a trade war will hurt both countries. It will not help anybody."

Scott Kennedy, Deputy Director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said on Wednesday that the China-US relationship is a "complex relationship featuring cooperation and contention in many ways".

"It's a mixed bag and the relationship is gradually sliding in a much more contentious direction," Kennedy said.

Trump is set to arrive at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. Trump's expected arrival overshadowed the event and many government leaders rushed to take a stance in contrast to Trump's policies, particularly his move to revise free trade deals and drop out of a global climate pact, the AP reported on Wednesday.

When asked if a settlement that included reunification of the Koreas is something that China will support, Cui said China wants to have an entire peninsula without nuclear weapons; it wants peace and stability on the peninsula and stands for a diplomatic solution.

On Wednesday, the US slapped new sanctions on the DPRK and firms and individuals that it said support Pyongyang.

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