Trump meets China’s top diplomat

Washington: The US attaches great importance to cooperative relations with China, President Donald Trump said in his first meeting with China’s top diplomat since his inauguration last month, the media reported.

In their meeting at the White House on Monday, China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi, conveyed greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Trump, who expressed his gratitude, and asked Yang to return his greetings to his Chinese counterpart, according to a press release from China’s Foreign Ministry.

Yang, who is in the US on a two-day visit, said the phone call between Xi and Trump earlier this month is of great significance because it charted the course for the next phase in the development of the Sino-US relationship, China Daily reported.

“In line with the spirit of the phone conversation, and following the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, China is willing to ramp up exchanges with the US at high and various levels, expand cooperation and coordination in wide-ranging bilateral areas and on major regional and international issues and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns,” Yang said.

The efforts are meant to advance China-US relations in a steady and healthy fashion, and to deliver more benefits to the people of the two nations and the world at large, Yang said, according to the release.

Trump said he was glad to have the very important phone conversation with Xi, and the US side highly stressed the importance of cooperative relations with China, according to the release.

Trump also said that China and the US need to strengthen high-level contacts, enhance collaboration in various fields and increase cooperation and coordination in international affairs.

Vice-President Mike Pence and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also attended the Trump-Yang meeting.

On Monday, Yang also exchanged ideas on Sino-US relations and other issues of mutual interest with senior US officials including Kushner, White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Yang is expected to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday.

Yang’s visit coincides with the 45th anniversary of the historical visit to China in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, whose trip paved the way for the two countries to establish diplomatic relations in 1979.