China does not want to see trade war with U.S. – Premier Li

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BEIJING China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on
Wednesday that Beijing does not want to see a trade war with the
United States and urged talks between both sides to achieve
common ground.

“We do not want to see any trade war breaking out between
the two countries. That would not make our trade fairer,” Li
said at his annual news conference at the end of the annual
meeting of China’s parliament.

“Our hope on the Chinese side is that no matter what bumps
this relationship hits, we hope it will continue to move forward
in a positive direction,” he said.

“We may have different statistical methods, but I believe
whatever differences we may have we can all sit down and talk to
each other and work together to find solutions,” Li said.

Issues that cannot immediately be solved should be “shelved”
for the time being, he added.

U.S. media have reported that U.S. President Donald Trump
and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Florida next
month.

Trump has attacked China on issues ranging from trade to the
South China Sea and what he perceives as China’s lack of
interest in reining in nuclear-armed North Korea.

During the election campaign, Trump had threatened to label
China a currency manipulator and impose huge tariffs on imports
of Chinese goods.

He has not followed through on either move yet, but the U.S.
Treasury will issue its semi-annual currency report in April.

China’s trade surplus against the United States was $366
billion in 2015.

Last month, Trump held his first face-to-face talks with a
member of the Chinese leadership, top diplomat Yang Jiechi, who
outranks Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The White House said it was a
chance to discuss shared security interests and a possible
meeting with President Xi.

Li also reiterated in his remarks that China-U.S. relations
are founded upon adherence to the “one China” policy, under
which Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is
only one China, of which Taiwan is a part.

The “one China” policy “has remained unshaken despite changing circumstances,” he said, adding “this foundation cannot
be undermined.”

Trump incensed Beijing in December by talking to Taiwan
President Tsai Ing-wen and saying the United States did not have
to stick to the policy, vaguely suggesting that he may abandon
the policy as part of negotiations for a better trade deal with
China.

Trump later agreed in a phone call with Xi to honour the “one China” policy in a diplomatic boost for Beijing, which
vehemently opposes criticism of its claim to self-ruled, proudly
democratic Taiwan.

Li also said China did not seek a sustained trade surplus
with the European Union, and that the imbalance “would clearly
improve” if Europe exported more high-tech products to China.

The United States and the EU have long maintained export
controls as security measures against China on a range of
products with both military and civilian uses.

China wants access to high-tech components to move its
manufacturing industries higher up the value chain, but the
foreign business community has often voiced concern about weak
protection of intellectual property rights and forced technology
transfers in exchange for market access.



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