Wary of Trump, China hails Obama for progress in Sino-US ties

Wary of Trump, China hails Obama for progress in Sino-US ties

China today hailed the outgoing US President Barack Obama and said the bilateral ties made important progress during his tenure, as it braced for a likely showdown with America under the presidency of tough-talking Donal Trump.

"Like all you we are also paying close attention to the inauguration of the new US president tomorrow," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media briefing when asked how China views the relations with US under the Trump administration starting from tomorrow.

The stable development of China-US relations are in the interests of two peoples, Hua said, acknowledging that some specific problems and differences between the two sides remained and should be resolved through constructive dialogue.

"We look forward to working with the new US government to continue to uphold the principles of non-confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation and win-win situation, continue to expand bilateral, regional, global and cooperation in various fields," she said, skirting any references to tensions over Trump's assertions that he would negotiate on One-China policy, address trade imbalance, currency manipulation as well as disputed South China Sea issues.

Ahead of Trump inauguration tomorrow, China has called on the US to bar a Taiwanese delegation from the swearing-in ceremony which would be also attend by Chinese envoy to US.

China and the US need to be "friends and partners rather than competitors and enemies," Hua said.

However, she hit out at comments by Trump's pick for commerce secretary Wilbur Ross criticism that China is indulging for excess steel and aluminium production.

She said China is a defender of free trade and pointed to Chinese President Xi Jinping appeal at World Economic Forum in Switzerland to avoid protectionism. "Who is sincerely pushing ahead with liberalisation of trade and investment and who is exercising trade protectionism should be clear for all to see," Hua asked.

Trump vowed during his campaign that he will respond to unfair Beijing trade tactics by raising tariffs on Chinese goods by possibly imposing other penalties. Hua, however, spoke highly of Obama tenure saying that "important progress" has been in US China ties under Obama Presidency and the two countries should move forward as partners rather than competitors.

When asked to sum how China viewed ties under Obama who relinquishes office tomorrow, she said both Obama and Chinese President Xi met eight times. Besides improving Trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges which hit new records under Obama tenure, both countries signed climate change agreement, which Trump said he would discard.

She also spoke about investment agreement, building trust between their militaries, counter-terrorism and the Iranian nuclear issue. "Important progress has been made by the two countries. This has shown that China-US relations have strategic and overarching significance and we have more common interests than differences and when China and the US work together we can achieve a lot," Hua said.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry also reminded Trump about lucrative trade ties between the two countries becoming a mainstay of the relationship. Sino-US trade volume grew from USD 2.5 billion in 1979 to about USD 519.6 billion in 2016, surging by 211 times within 38 years, the Ministry said.

With over USD 400 billion exports to US, China however has a lion's share in the bilateral trade. Bilateral service trade volume totalled over USD 100 billion while mutual investment exceeded USD 170 billion by the end of 2016, the ministry said.

China and the United States share integrated interests with bilateral trade and investment expanding into more fields, the Ministry's spokesperson Sun Jiwen said.

A report from the US-China Business Council (USCBC) showed that bilateral trade and investment in 2015 created about 2.6 million jobs for Americans and contributed to about 1.2 percent of US GDP that year, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The USCBC expects US exports to China to reach USD 520 billion in volume by 2050, while China's exports to the US will help lower local prices by 1 to 1.5 percentage points.

Sino-US trade and investment ties, which are mutually beneficial, are the anchor and propeller of bilateral relations, and China is willing to work with the new US leadership to continue promoting stable bilateral trade and investment to benefit the two country's people, Sun said.

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