China plays down tough talk by Trump choice for top diplomatJanuary 12, 2017 9:57am

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday stressed mutual respect and cooperation with the U.S. in response to tough talk from Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, who said the administration would block Chinese access to its fortified man-made islands in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said tensions in the strategically vital waterway had lessened and countries from outside the region should support efforts toward stability.

China-U.S. relations are based on "non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation," Lu said at a daily briefing.

"If you take a look at (Chinese) President Xi Jinping's call with Donald Trump after he won the election, you can see that the two countries do respect each other, and we agree with him that we should develop our relations based on mutual respect," he said.

In the South China Sea, which China claims virtually entirely, the "situation has cooled down, and we hope non-regional countries can respect this consensus that is in the fundamental interest of the whole world," Lu added.

In testimony at his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Rex Tillerson presented a sharply more confrontational tone that diverged from the Obama administration's focus on cooperation with China.

"You're going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island building stops, and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed," he said when asked if he supported a more aggressive U.S. posture.

The former Exxon Mobil CEO also accused Beijing of "declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China's," comparing its island-building efforts and deployment of military assets on the islands to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea — an action that ended up prompting tough U.S. and European sanctions.

He called China's actions "extremely worrisome." The U.S. failure to respond "has allowed them to keep pushing the envelope" in seas that carry $5 trillion of trade annually, he said, suggesting Trump would adopt a tougher approach.

"This is a threat to the entire global economy if China is allowed to somehow dictate the terms of passage through these waters," Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Chinese diplomats say they aren't overly worried by fiery rhetoric from Trump and his Cabinet picks and that China's won't change its basic constructive approach to U.S.-China relations.

However, they say they won't negotiate over what China considers its "core interests," particularly the self-governing island of Taiwan which it claims. Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan's president after his election last year in a remarkable break with U.S. diplomatic precedent.

Tillerson's comments on the South China Sea were savaged by some foreign experts on the region and Chinese military analysts, who said Beijing would likely respond to any such moves with its own harsh retaliatory measures.

Tillerson's testimony on blocking access to the South China Sea islands was "reckless/inaccurate," tweeted Michael Swaine, an expert on China-related security topics at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. "Hmm never heard of 'act of war?'" he added.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Correction: Pushing Asia's Buttons storyCorrection: Pushing Asia's Buttons story
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2016 file photo, a Chinese man holds up a Chinese newspaper with the front page photo of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the headline "Outsider counter attack" at a newsstand in Beijing, China. China views a Trump presidency with less trepidation. Citizens of China's capital Beijing on Saturday are expressing doubts about U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to steer the U.S. economy and manage China-American relations. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
Chinese express doubts about US relations under Trump
Recent developments surrounding the South China SeaChina is not happy with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's high-profile visits to the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam over concerns that he's trying to pull the rug out from under Beijing's efforts to pacify its neighbors
Dalai Lama hopes President Trump, Putin will work for peaceThe Dalai Lama says that he hopes that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will work together for global peace
Asian shares mixed after Trump inauguration, dollar weakensAsian stocks are mixed after Donald Trump took office as U.S. president and promised "American first" policies, adding to concerns about protectionism
People look at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Japanese stocks tumbled Monday after Donald Trump took office as U.S. president and promised “American first” policies, prompting concern about possible protectionism. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Global stocks slip amid concern over Trump policies on trade
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices