US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C) sits with other diplomats before a meeting on Syria at the World Conference Center in Bonn, western Germany, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool
February 17, 2017
BEIJING (Reuters) – The common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday in their first face-to-face meeting since Tillerson took up his job.
U.S. President Donald Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of Taiwan and saying the United States did not have to stick to the “one China” policy, under which Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.
In a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last week, Trump changed tack and agreed to honor the “one China” policy, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing, which brooks no criticism of its claim to self-ruled Taiwan.
However, several areas of disagreement between the two countries, such as currency, trade, the South China Sea and North Korea, were not mentioned in public statements on the telephone conversation.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement released after Wang met Tillerson on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers of the G20 top economies in the German city of Bonn, made no specific mention of where the two disagree.
Wang said the Xi-Trump call was extremely important, and that the two countries should promote even better relations.
“China and the United States have joint responsibility to maintain global stability and promote global prosperity, and both sides’ joint interests are far greater than their differences,” the statement paraphrased Wang as saying.
The two countries should increase mutual trust, deepen cooperation and ensure that under Trump they make even greater contributions to global peace and prosperity, Wang added.
The two also had a “deep exchange of views” on the North Korean nuclear issue, the statement said, without giving details.
Tillerson on Friday urged China to do all it could to moderate North Korea’s destabilizing behavior after Sunday’s ballistic missile test by Pyongyang, Tillerson’s spokesman Mark Toner said after the Wang meeting.
(Reporting by Philip Wen, Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Toby Chopra)