Date
18 January 2017
Reporters raise hands to ask Premier Li Keqiang questions at a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
Reporters raise hands to ask Premier Li Keqiang questions at a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Sino-US ties will develop regardless of who wins US election: Li

China’s relations with the United States will continue to develop regardless of who wins the US presidential election in November, Reuters quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Wednesday.

The Chinese government has largely refrained from commenting on the US election campaign, saying it is an internal matter for the American people, despite attacks on China by real estate mogul and Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, the news agency said.

Trump has frequently accused China of stealing jobs and portrayed himself as a tough negotiator who would beat Beijing at its own game.

US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has also weighed in with criticisms of China, saying earlier this month that as the Chinese economy slows, China will engage in more damaging practices in global trade.

Li, speaking at a news conference at the end of China’s annual meeting of parliament, said the US election “has been lively and caught the eye of many”.

“I believe that no matter in the end who wins the laurel and serves as president, the underlying trend of China-US relations will not change,” Li said.

That trend over the past several decades has been “forward development”, he said.

Asked about President Barack Obama’s “pivot” back to Asia, which Chinese policymakers tend to view with suspicion, Li said he remained hopeful for future cooperation.

“As for countries outside the region, such as the United States, it can be said they’ve never left the Asia Pacific. We can cooperate with them in the Asia Pacific region, and manage our differences well.”

While the world’s two largest economies are frequently at odds over everything from human rights and currency policy to the South China Sea, they have deep business ties and are in talks on a bilateral investment treaty.

Slow progress on the treaty, however, and tensions over cyber hacking and new laws in China that could hamper foreign tech firms, have soured commercial relations.

“China will give US investors wider market access in a gradual way, but this should be mutual. Bilateral opening should be reciprocal,” Li said.

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CG

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