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Update: China, U.S. Exchange Sharp Words During Pompeo Visit

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (left) meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday. Photo: U.S. State Department
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (left) meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday. Photo: U.S. State Department

Chinese officials urged American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during meetings in Beijing to repair damage to U.S.-China relations caused by recent trade and political disputes.

Pompeo, who visited Beijing briefly Monday after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, engaged in unusually pointed exchanges with Chinese counterparts amid deteriorating bilateral ties. The remarks come amid heightened tensions and trade frictions.

In a joint appearance before a meeting, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for the U.S. to stop “continuously escalating trade frictions with China” and to cease making “groundless accusations against China’s domestic and foreign policy,” according to a statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

Wang said U.S. actions have damaged China’s rights and interests, undermined mutual trust and cast a shadow over China-U.S. relations.

“We urge the U.S. to immediately stop its misguided comments and actions,” Wang said.

In response, Pompeo said the two countries have a "fundamental disagreement." The U.S. has “great concerns about the actions that China has taken,” he said.

But Pompeo added that he looked forward to discussing the matters with Wang as the two countries have an "incredibly important relationship," according to his remarks as published on the website of the U.S. Department of State.

In a later meeting Monday, Pompeo met Yang Jiechi, a senior cabinet official and former foreign minister. The two officials struck a softer tone but again highlighted recent frictions.

Yang said China and the U.S. must expand political cooperation to achieve mutual aims. China will take necessary measures to safeguard its rights and interests, Yang said.

Pompeo said there are many issues on which Washington and Beijing disagree but it is important that both sides listen to each other.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a series of allegations, including accusing Beijing of attempting to interfere with the November congressional elections.

Earlier, the two countries engaged in tit-for-tat rounds of punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions dollars of products. The past few weeks have also seen the cancellation of planned bilateral trade and security talks and a naval standoff.

A U.S. decision to sell $330 million of military equipment to Taiwan on Sept. 26 and a four-page supplement, sponsored by the official China Daily newspaper, published in Iowa’s Des Moines Register on Sept. 30 further ratcheted up tensions. The supplement included headlines like “Duel undermines benefits of trade” and “Dispute: Fruit of a president’s folly.”

Pompeo's trip to Asia began Saturday in Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On Sunday, he met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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