World

Xi, Trump G20 meeting will be of great significance - China

Xi, Trump G20 meeting will be of great significance - China

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe held a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis after talks on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

"The Chinese side made it clear to the United States that it should stop sending its vessels and military aircraft close to Chinese islands and reefs and stop actions that undermine Chinese authority and security interests", said Pompeo's Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, who also had sharp words over US support for Taiwan.

A "frank" exchange of views can be expected in top-level diplomatic and security talks between the United States and China on Friday, including on issues such as human rights and the South China Sea, the USA ambassador to China said.

Trump and Xi announced the updated negotiation framework a year ago and the first meeting in the format was held in June 2017 in Washington, when the two sides discussed issues including North Korea and the South China Sea.

Mattis made clear that this demand go unheeded by Washington, which insists it is acting under global law to preserve access for it and others to the South China Sea.

The meeting was planned to prepare for the highly-anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina iat the end of the month.

Despite the officials' frank airing of their differences, both sides are stressing the need to lower tensions that have flared amid a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

On Monday, Trump said China wanted to make a deal and added: "If we can make the right deal, a deal that's fair, we'll do that".

China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe has issued a stern rebuke of the USA and warned that an accidental clash between the two countries could erupt in a global war.

Xi told former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger that he and Trump would have "a deep exchange of views" in Argentina, according to the Chinese state news agency. "Confrontation and conflict between the two militaries will spell disaster for us all". And we urge the United States to play constructive role for peace and stability in the South China Sea.




Jeffrey Ordaniel, a research fellow at the Pacific Forum, said on Twitter that although the demand by the USA was a first, it was "very unlikely" that China would heed that call.

Pompeo said the U.S. had also expressed concern about China's approach to Taiwan, particularly its efforts to limit worldwide engagement with the breakaway province.

USA officials said they would not halt so-called freedom-of-navigation patrols that are aimed at ensuring countries do not restrict traffic in global waters. Beijing said the ongoing trade war hurts both sides. Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $110 million worth of USA goods.

Mattis called the talks "candid" and said that the two militaries looked to improve communication and avoid "miscalculation" at sea.

China and the USA have put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's US$500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the dispute can not be resolved.

On human rights, Pompeo voiced concern over China's treatment of religious minorities, including the mass detention of minority Uighur Muslims.

Despite twists and turns, Sino-U.S. relations have generally maintained steady progress over the past four decades, Xi said.

Yang defended China's policies in Xinjiang as measures against "ethnic separatist activities and violent terrorist crimes" but said it was a Chinese internal affair and foreign governments should not interfere.

Calling Kissinger an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi applauded the USA diplomat's contribution to bilateral relations.


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