Chinese President Xi Jinping has told US president-elect Donald Trump that cooperation was the only choice for relations between the world’s two largest economies, with Trump saying the two had established a “clear sense of mutual respect”.
Intense speculation has swirled over the impact of Trump’s win on China-US issues – from global trade and climate change to the security balance in the Asia-Pacific.
Trump lambasted China throughout the US election campaign, drumming up headlines with his pledges of slapping 45 percent tariffs on imported Chinese goods, and labelling the country a currency manipulator.
His election has injected uncertainty into relations at a time when Beijing hopes for stability as it faces daunting reform challenges at home, slowing growth, and a leadership reshuffle of its own that will put a new party elite around Xi in late 2017.
In their first interaction since the US election, Chinese state media said Xi told Trump in a telephone call on Monday that as the world’s largest developing and developed economies, there were many areas where China and the United States could cooperate.
“The facts prove that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States,” China Central Television (CCTV) cited Xi as saying.
Xi’s remarks were a reiteration of phrasing typically used by Beijing to describe bilateral relations.
The two sides must “promote the two countries’ economic development and global economic growth” and “push for better development going forward in China-US relations”, Xi said.
“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and president-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,” a statement from Trump’s presidential transition office said.
The two agreed to maintain close communications and meet soon, CCTV said. Xi had congratulated Trump in a message delivered shortly after Trump’s surprise election victory last week.
China has signalled it will promote plans for regional trade integration, vowing to seek support for a Beijing-backed Asia-Pacific free trade area at a summit in Peru later this month, after Trump’s win dashed hopes for the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Trump’s criticism of US allies, including Japan, for free-riding on US security guarantees, has deepened anxiety among Washington’s friends about its commitment to post-war security arrangements in the face of a rising China and volatile North Korea.