China Says Has Common Interests With U.S., Should Strive for Healthy Ties

BEIJING (Reuters) —
A man cycles past a giant screen as it shows Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attending a news conference, following the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), in Beijing, China, Thursday. (Reuters/Tingshu Wang)

China and the United States have common interests and many areas for cooperation and should strive for a healthy development in relations, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday.

The United States and China are at odds over influence in the Indo-Pacific region, Beijing’s economic practices, Hong Kong, Taiwan and human rights in China‘s Xinjiang region.

Li, speaking at a news conference at the end of the annual meeting of China‘s Parliament, said Beijing hoped ties could develop in a healthy way based on respecting each other’s core interests, win-win cooperation and non-interference in internal affairs.

It is inevitable the two will have differences, but what is key is how they deal with those, he added.

“The people of China and the United States are wise and capable, and the two sides have to conduct dialogue and communication with respect and equality,” Li said.

China and the United States share broad common interests and there are many areas where we can cooperate. We should still focus more on common ground and expand our common interests.”

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has committed to reviewing elements of U.S. policy toward China, as the world’s two largest economies navigate frosty relations that sank to their lowest depths in decades during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, held their first phone call as leaders last month and appeared at odds on most issues, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a “disaster” for both nations.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with top Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska, the first high-level in-person contact between the two sparring countries under the Biden administration.

Biden wants to signal a break with Trump’s “America First” approach by re-engaging with allies and focusing on multilateral diplomacy, while also recognizing the world has changed since he served in the Obama administration that preceded Trump.

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