Trump ‘looks forward to visiting China’ says Tillerson

BBC News reports: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told China’s President Xi Jinping that President Donald Trump looks forward to visiting his country, and to enhancing understanding between the states.

Mr Tillerson met the Chinese leader in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, as his East Asian tour comes to an end.

Mr Xi said he was glad to see good progress from Mr Tillerson’s meetings.

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly. I express my appreciation for this,” he said. [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: After meeting China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, Tillerson voiced Chinese catchphrases about the relationship, including the avoidance of conflict and confrontation and the need to build “mutual respect” and strive for “win-win” cooperation.

The phrase “mutual respect” is key: In Beijing, that is taken to mean each side should respect the other’s “core interests.”

In other words: The United States should stay away from issues such as Taiwan, Tibet or Hong Kong — and in principle almost anything China’s Communist Party deems a vital national security concern. Increasingly, that also appears to include China’s territorial claims in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Several Chinese foreign policy experts called the comments “very positive” and in line with a concept Beijing has long advocated — what it calls “a new model of great power relationships,” which would put the two nations on a roughly equal footing.

Jin Canrong, a Sino-U.S. relations expert at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said Tillerson’s comments came as a surprise.

“China has long been advocating this, but the United States has been reluctant to accept the point of ‘mutual respect,’ ” Jin said. “Tillerson’s comment will be very warmly welcomed by China.”

But Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the United States should use its own language to describe bilateral relations, not embrace China’s.

More importantly, “mutual respect” signals acceptance of “a litany of issues that China views as non-negotiable,” she said. “By agreeing to this, the U.S. is in effect saying that it accepts that China has no room to compromise on these issues.” [Continue reading…]

In an interview with Independent Journal Review, Tillerson said: I do think we’re at somewhat of a historic moment in the U.S.-China relationship. It has been defined for the past 40 years by the opening of China, the Nixon-Kissinger visit. During that time, by and large, the U.S. and China have found a way to exist together in this world, to deal with our conflicts. We’ve never fought a war with each other, other than on the Korean peninsula. That’s the only time we’ve fought a war with each other. And even as China’s country and economy have grown, and now occupies its place in the global economy, we have always managed to exist with one another in a spirit of non-conflict. It doesn’t mean we don’t have differences, but we’ve always found ways to either resolve them or to live with them. Accept that we have differences and move on and still do what’s in the best interest of our people, and China in the best interest of theirs. But I do think because of what is happening globally with people in the world over — globalization itself — that we’re at perhaps at an inflection point in the relationship of global powers in general. And I do think that the Chinese and the U.S. need to have a fresh conversation about what will define the relationship between the United States and China for the next 50 years. We can look back and see how successful we’ve been, 40 years of what I would say has been a very successful relationship with two very powerful nations living with one another without conflict. But now we find that there are issues arising that have gone unresolved. And I think how we are able to talk about those and how we are able to chart our course forward is going to set, potentially, the relationship in a new era of existing together without conflict, in an era of non-conflict. Again, it doesn’t mean we won’t have differences, but we will find how are we going to live with one another for the next 50 years. Because I think there’s a question, perhaps even in the minds of the Chinese: How will the American people, the Chinese people, live with each other in this world for the next half century? [Continue reading…]

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