China, United States cannot afford
conflict: Chinese foreign minister
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[February 07, 2017]
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) - There would no winner
from conflict between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign
Minister Wang Yi warned on Tuesday, seeking to dampen tension between
the two nations that flared after the election of U.S. President Donald
Relations between China and United States have soured after Trump upset
Beijing in December by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President
Tsai Ing-wen and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.
China considers Taiwan a wayward province, with no right to formal
diplomatic relations with any other country.
But China is committed to peace, Wang said, after meeting Australia's
Foreign Minister Julia Bishop.
"There cannot be conflict between China and the United States, as both
sides will lose and both sides cannot afford that," he told reporters in
the Australian capital of Canberra.
While seeking to reduce tension, Wang called on global leaders to reject
protectionism, which Trump has backed with his "America First" economic
"It is important to firmly commit to an open world economy," Wang added.
"It is important to steer economic globalization towards greater
inclusiveness, broader shared benefit in a more sustainable way."
While Trump's trade policies have spurred concern the United States is
entering a period of economic protectionism, China has previously
accused Australia of adopting a similar practice by blocking the sale of
major assets to Chinese interests.
Bishop urged China to consider joining a pan-Pacific trade pact
abandoned last month by Trump, who has said he prefers bilateral deals.
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a joint press
conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in
Beijing, China December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Greg Baker/Pool
"I want to encourage China to consider the agreement," Bishop said,
referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
As China called on nations to be open to offshore investment, Wang
said Beijing would link its "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) policy with
Australia's plan to develop its remote northern region.
The program announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013 envisages
investments by China in infrastructure projects, including railways
and power grids in central, west and southern Asia, as well as
Africa and Europe.
Australia has ambitious plans to develop its Northern Territory, a
frontier region with little infrastructure, but efforts have largely
stalled for lack of investment.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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