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Xi calls for mutual respect between China and US as he meets senior American official

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets US National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping told US National Security Adviser ­Susan Rice on Monday that both countries should effectively manage their differences and respect each other’s core interests.

Yet Xi’s top general also told Rice that failure to properly handle sensitive issues between the United States and China could “very likely disturb and undermine” their military-to-military relations.

Rice is the most senior US official to visit the capital since an international tribunal this month rejected China’s vast territorial claims in the South China Sea – infuriating Beijing and fuelling tensions with Washington.

Rice’s trip is intended to prepare for a visit by US President Barack Obama to a G20 summit in Hangzhou in September.

Meeting Xi, Rice said the US and China’s interdependence meant that China’s success was also in America’s interest. The two nations had demonstrated that they could work together on major global issues such as climate change, Rice said.

“At the same time, we are confronting our differences with candour and clarity and we believe that clarity produces predictability, and predictability produces stability,” Rice said.

Xi told Rice that he was ­committed to building a good bilateral relationship on “the basis of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win ­cooperation.”

The South China Sea was not mentioned in any of the opening remarks Rice and Chinese leaders made in front of reporters. Tensions have mounted since the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12 that there was no legal basis for Beijing’s claims to nearly all of the waterway.

In recent months Washington has sent naval vessels close to reefs and outcrops claimed by Beijing.

Rice met General Fan Chang­long, who told her the sides still faced “obstacles and challenges”.

“We should be honest with ourselves that deep down in this relationship we’re still faced with obstacles and challenges,” said Fan, who is a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, adding that military ties had been “impacted by some complicated and some sensitive factors”.
 


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