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Pompeo Holds 'Frosty' Meetings with Chinese Officials Over Simmering Tensions

The two countries were at war of words since June when President Donald Trump slapped the first round of additional tariffs on Chinese exports, demanding Beijing reduce the trade deficit worth over $335 billion.

PTI

Updated:October 8, 2018, 9:29 PM IST
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Pompeo Holds 'Frosty' Meetings with Chinese Officials Over Simmering Tensions
File photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Image: Reuters)
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Beijing: Top diplomats of the US and China on Monday had "frosty" exchanges as they met here amid deepening trade war and intensifying tension over Beijing's militarisation of the disputed South China Sea.

The two countries were at war of words since June when President Donald Trump slapped the first round of additional tariffs on Chinese exports, demanding Beijing reduce the trade deficit worth over $335 billion.

China retaliated with its own set of tariffs on the US exports. Since then, they have slapped additional tariffs on billions of dollars of export goods on each other.

Visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held five hour-long talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and senior ruling Communist Party official Yang Jiechi over simmering tensions between the two countries.

Pompeo, who reached here in the last leg of his current East Asia tour during which he visited South Korea, North Korea and Japan, began his Beijing visit with Wang, who is also the State Councillor.

Reporting on their meeting, state-run CGTN TV described their discussions as "frosty exchanges" as both came out with firm statements in their opening remarks.

In his remarks, Wang asked the US to immediately stop its misguided comments and actions regarding trade fictions, Taiwan issue disputes over the South China Sea.

He didn't avoid talking of escalating tensions, the report said, adding that such opening remarks by Wang are rare in his opening meeting with any foreign dignitaries.

Wang said he told Pompeo that a shadow has been cast "over the future of China-US relations".

The US should work with China to pursue the path of a win-win cooperation instead of taking the wrong approach of conflict and confrontation, he said.

While escalating the trade frictions between the two countries, the US has taken a slew of actions undermining the rights and interests of China on issues such as Taiwan, and made unwarranted accusations against China's domestic and foreign policies, official media quoted Wang as saying.

The US moves have directly impacted on the mutual trust and cast shadows upon bilateral ties, he said.

"We demand the US stop the unwarranted accusations and wrongdoings against China immediately," Wang said.

Pompeo, who arrived from North Korea, spoke about his talks in Pyongyang and efforts to achieve the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

In his opening remarks, Pompeo said: "We have grave concerns about the actions that China has taken, and I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss each of those today because this is an incredibly important relationship".

He also said: "I do want to share with you my visit with Chairman (of North Korea) Kim Jong-un yesterday and the progress we've made, and to make sure that we are working together on our joint mission that we've talked about before: the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

"I regret that the strategic dialogue between our two countries was something that you all chose not to undertake. It would have been an important opportunity for us to have a discussion about these longer-term, important issues that present opportunities for the people of our two countries," Pompeo added.

China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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