United States denies China ‘Cold War’ but deep gaps persist

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party before a meeting in Beijing China on Oct. 8 2018

China last week announced it started operations of the stations on three islands to offer weather forecasts to fishermen in the South China Sea region and neighboring countries, and passing ships.

The U.S. pushed back Friday, insisting it will continue to "fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".

China and the United States have put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the remainder of China's US$500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

The United States and China are to resume talks today after months of spiralling tension in a bid to resolve their trade disputes.

"The United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China", Pompeo told a joint news conference.

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. "The United States is not trying to contain China, but we want fairness and reciprocity".

Responding sharply to Pompeo's mention of Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province but which is armed by Washington, Wei said Beijing would defend its claim on the island "at any cost".

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from left, Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi, third from right, and Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe, second from right, meet at the State Department in Washington, Nov. 9, 2018.

However, Yang and Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe spoke of the need to improve cooperation, including between the US and Chinese militaries, to ease the risk of conflict as the two powers jockey for pre-eminence in the Asia-Pacific.


"We believe that meeting will help chart the course for China-US relations", he said, following talks with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

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 added his own caution, saying that "competition does not mean hostility, nor does it lead to conflict".

Branstad said they would also discuss "strategic security" and avoiding accidents between the two militaries.

Mr Trump has imposed £192 billion (US$250 billion) worth of tariffs on Chinese goods as part of his America First trade policy.

China and the U.S. are now locked in an ongoing trade war as each country has introduced tariffs on goods traded between each other.

Mr. Pompeo expressed concern about the building of military installations on artificial islands and reefs of the South China Sea, while Mr. Yang asserted that Beijing has sovereignty over those waters even though other countries, including some allies of Washington, reject China's claims.

Speaking earlier, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said Xi and Trump reached an important consensus on the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties in a telephone call last week.Their meeting at the G20 summit would be of "great significance" in resolving bilateral problems, Wang said.

On human rights, Pompeo voiced concern over China's treatment of religious minorities, including the mass detention of minority Uighur Muslims. He signed the Taiwan Travel Act earlier this year, which encourages visits "at all levels" between USA and Taiwanese officials. Yang insisted that Chinese people have freedom of religion, and that "foreign countries have no right to interfere".

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