China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday embarked on a four-day official trip to the US under the shadow of the conflict in Gaza, the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Xi’s trip is first in his precedent-breaking third term as president and maiden visit since 2015 when he had visited the US for first time in his first term as the head of Chinese government.
The Chinese leader will meet his US counterpart Joe Biden for a summit in San Francisco, their second since they met in Indonesia last year, as Beijing and Washington move to stabilize the world’s most consequential bilateral relations.
San Francisco was his first stop when Xi made his debut trip to the US in 1985. He was then the county leader of Zhengding in China’s northern province of Hebei.
Washington is expected to press Beijing in resuming high-level military dialogue, which China suspended in August last year.
Ahead of the Xi-Biden meeting on Wednesday, Beijing said about Israel’s war on Gaza: “The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues to grip the world’s attention. China stands on the side of equity and justice.”
During his US tour between Tuesday and Friday, the Chinese president will also attend the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
“We have been in close contact with relevant parties and committed to de-escalation and protection of civilians. We hope that the US will follow an objective and just stance and play a constructive role in halting the conflict,” Mao Ning, spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Beijing.
On Washington’s tune that the US and China were competitors, Mao chose to disagree.
“China views and handles its relations with the US in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” she said in response to the question that the US was looking toward “managing the competition, preventing the downside risk of conflict, and ensuring channels of communication are open.”
“Major-country competition runs counter to the trend of our times and provides no answer to the problems in the US or the challenges in our world. China does not fear competition, but we do not agree that China-US relations should be defined by competition,” Mao insisted.
Urging Washington to respect China’s concerns and legitimate right to development, she said Xi and Biden “will have in-depth communication on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance in shaping China-US relations and major issues concerning world peace and development.”
“To seek to remodel other countries in one’s own image is wishful thinking in the first place and typical hegemonism which is going nowhere. China doesn’t seek to change the US, nor should the US seek to shape or change China,” she said, pointing out that successive US administrations had made “clear commitments” on Taiwan.
“The US needs to honor its commitment to one China and oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ with concrete actions,” she said.
On the disputed South China Sea, Mao said: “China will neither take any inch of territory that is not ours, nor give up any inch of territory that belongs to us.”
“The US needs to stop creating pretexts and interfering in the disputes between China and relevant countries over territorial and maritime rights and interests, still less contain and encircle China by exploiting those issues,” she added.
Source : aa