China foreign minister says wants to manage disputes with U.S.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China wants dialogue with the new U.S. administration to manage disputes and promote bilateral relations, but only on the basis of respecting each other’s core interests, like the “one China” principle, China’s foreign minister said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Beijing, China December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Greg Baker/Pool

U.S. President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday, upset Beijing before taking office by casting doubt on the “one China” principle, under which Washington acknowledges Beijing’s position of sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province, to be brought under its control by force if necessary. However, proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being ruled by Beijing.

Speaking at a reception for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the future direction of Sino-U.S. ties had “attracted attention”.

“We are willing, on the basis of strictly abiding by the ‘one China’ principle and respect of each other’s core interests, to have dialogue with the new U.S. government,” Wang said, in comments posted on the ministry’s website late Tuesday.

China is willing to “increase mutual trust, focus cooperation, manage and control disputes and promote the healthy development of China-U.S. relations, to bring even greater benefits to both peoples”, he added.

Separately, state news agency Xinhua quoted Chinese ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai as saying that while the Trump administration has yet to formulate a China policy, the general trend of China-U.S. cooperation cannot be reversed as it is “the only right choice” for both.

In any trade war, both countries would suffer, he added.

“Currently, the world economy needs a strong engine to lead to stronger development and faster growth, it’s inescapable responsibility for China and the United States to do this, rather than heading toward a trade war,” Cui said.

With Trump’s decision to quit the Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP), Cui said China cannot take over the U.S. role as the global leader who makes trade rules.

“I think this is a misleading notion, because international trade rules cannot be made by the United States or China alone, and rather, they should be made and implemented by all nations in the world,” Cui said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry & Simon Cameron-Moore