BEIJING — President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, discussed bilateral trade and the situation on the Korean Peninsula by phone on Jan 16.
The phone call came amid strengthening of efforts to keep China-US trade relations right on track and at a time when tensions on the Korean Peninsula have shown signs of easing.
China-US relations maintained overall stability and achieved significant progress in 2017, said Xi in the phone call.
Keeping bilateral ties on a track of healthy and stable development is in the interests of both countries and both peoples, and conforms to the common aspiration of the international community, the President said.
The two sides need to maintain high-level and various levels of interactions, bring the four high-level dialogue mechanisms between them into full play, and hold the second round of dialogues at a proper time, Xi said.
As economic and trade cooperation brings tangible benefits to both peoples, the two countries should adopt constructive measures to properly settle economic and trade issues of mutual concern by opening up the market to each other and “making the cake of cooperation bigger”, Xi added.
The President also called for advancing cooperation between the two militaries, and in law-enforcement, drug control, cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation at local levels, as well as close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues.
The two sides need to meet each other halfway, respect each other, focus on cooperation, deal with sensitive issues in a constructive way, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and maintain the momentum of sound and steady development of China-US relations, he said.
Trump said that the US side attaches great importance to its relations with China as well as to the US-China cooperation, and that it is willing to work with the Chinese side to enhance bilateral exchanges at all levels, expand pragmatic cooperation, and properly handle problems in bilateral trade so as to achieve even greater results in bilateral relations.
KOREAN PENINSULA ISSUE
In response to Trump’s request for comments on the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Xi told him that China was “ready to join the US for proper settlement of the nuclear issue”.
Xi said that there are some positive changes and related parties should work jointly to keep up the hard-won momentum for the easing of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and create conditions for the resumption of talks.
Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability in the region accord with the common interests of all sides, said Xi, adding that it is vital for the international community to stay united over the issue.
China is ready to continue its joint efforts with the United States and other members of the international community to achieve progress that would finally lead to a proper resolution of the issue, said Xi.
In response, Trump said the US side values China’s significant role in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China over the issue.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have shown signs of easing as senior officials from Pyongyang and Seoul met face-to-face on the borders earlier this month in what was their first direct talks in more than two years.
During the dialogue held at the South Korean side of the Panmunjom demilitarized zone, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said it will send athletes to the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February.
The two Koreas held a working-level meeting on Jan 15 and discussed details concerning the arrangement for Pyongyang’s state art troupe that will be dispatched to perform at the Olympics. The DPRK also proposed further talks at Panmunjom on Jan 17 on logistics for its participating athletes, according to media reports.
The international community welcomed the diplomatic thaw between the pair shown in their frequent consultations and is eager to see if the rapprochement will last beyond the sporting event. Pyongyang and Seoul are technically still at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce instead of a peace treaty.