China wants to resolve problems with the United States through talks but it must respect China's choice of development path and interests, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday ahead of a meeting with the USA leader in Argentina.
Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi (YAHNG jee-uh-CHERR) is making his government's position clear after the latest round of U.S.
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 U.S. ambassador to China said.
While the United States' representatives expressed their concern over what they referred to as growing militarization in the South China Sea and insisted that Beijing withdraw its missiles from the disputed Spratly Islands ("Nansha" in Chinese), Yang pointed out that China had "indisputable sovereignty" over the archipelago and its adjacent waters.
"And we made clear that the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", Mattis said. In late September, U.S. and Chinese vessels almost collided near a disputed reef.
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. Yang met Wednesday with US national security adviser John Bolton and urged that the two sides "manage differences properly" and look to make that summit a success, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Meeting US national security adviser John Bolton in Washington ahead of those talks, Yang said on Wednesday that the two sides should "properly manage differences and carefully prepare to ensure positive results in the Argentina meeting", China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Kissinger said he is pleased to meet Xi in China again at a critical moment when Sino-U.S. relations have entered a new stage.
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Wei warned that "confrontation or conflict between the two militaries will spell disaster for all" and said that "cooperation is the only option for us".
On the issue of the South China Sea, Chinese officials said the United States should stop sending ships and planes near islands that China claims as its own.
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.
Mattis called the talks "candid" and said that the two militaries looked to improve communication and avoid "miscalculation" at sea.
China and the USA are now locked in an ongoing trade war as each country has introduced tariffs on goods traded between each other. Trump has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products, in a push to narrow the US trade deficit and push back against what the USA views as predatory Chinese tactics on the high technology industry. While the Trump administration has generally been soft-spoken on human rights, at least with allies, Pompeo denounced China's "repression" of religious and minority groups including the Uighur community, citing a United Nations report that up to one million members of the mostly Muslim ethnic group have been rounded up in detention camps. "Their top priority is to stabilize relations", she said. Yang insisted that Chinese people have freedom of religion, and that "foreign countries have no right to interfere".
Calling Kissinger an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi applauded the USA diplomat's contribution to bilateral relations.
"We have continued concern about China's activities and militarization in the South China Sea", Pompeo told reporters Friday.