The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet to sign the phase one trade deal, which has placed a ceasefire on a tariff war between the two superpowers.
Beijing will live up to its trade deal commitments but Washington must also honour the one-China policy in relation to Taiwan, according to China’s envoy to the United States.
In an interview with Chinese state television CGTN on Saturday night, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US, also dismissed talk of a new cold war as “very irresponsible”.
The comments come as Beijing and Washington hammer out the final details of the text for an interim deal to end a protracted trade war that has rattled the global economy and financial markets over the last 18 months.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet to sign the phase one deal.
But China did not confirm that the two leaders would meet, saying only that both sides had been in close contact to work on preparations, including a legal review and translation.
“As far as we are concerned, we always honour our commitment. We will always implement what we promised. There is no problem about that,” Cui said.
“And if there are any differences, any problems, the two sides should work closely together to solve them.”
He said the two teams had negotiated “in real earnest” and displayed “good faith”.
“I’m confident that since we have spent so much time with such great efforts at reaching this agreement, I think it would certainly serve the interests of both sides if this agreement is implemented,” he said.
The next step for Beijing and Washington is the so-called phase two trade talks, but so far there is no timetable and the outlook is bleak as the two sides are expected grapple with thorny issues such as structural reforms, especially with the US presidential campaign on the horizon next year.
“I think we have full confidence in our negotiators. So let the two teams do their job,” Cui said. “And still they are under the guidance of the two presidents.”
Despite some relief with the phase one deal, overall bilateral tensions remain high. China has accused the US of interfering in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, and of challenging Beijing on the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which will go to the polls on January 11
“We have to make a very clear distinction. [A] local election in Taiwan is a local election in Taiwan, province of China. As far as the US is concerned, the US has made commitments to the one-China policy in the three joint communiques between China and the US, and I just hope they will honour their commitment,” Cui said.
The main contenders in next month’s election are Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, and Han Kuo-yu of the main opposition party the Kuomintang, which favours close ties with mainland China.
“The bottom line [on the Taiwan issue] is the one-China principle. There is only one China in the world. Both Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are part of China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should not be violated,” he said.
Cui did not rule out political and economic challenges in Beijing’s relations with Washington and called for cooperation to find solutions.
“The real strength of this relationship lies in our ability to overcome all the problems … I think this continues to be the case going forward,” he said.
He said China hawks in Washington were talking up the prospect of a new cold war and economic decoupling for China but there was also widespread support across the US to improve bilateral relations.
“It’s very irresponsible to talk about or even advocate a new cold war, decoupling and new technological, scientific wars between the two countries. This is very irresponsible behaviour. And this rhetoric goes against the tide of history,” he said.
“Cooperation is the only choice that we should make.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.