Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2nd R) in Beijing, capital of China, March 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States are now in close communication on arrangements for a meeting between the two presidents and exchanges at other levels, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Saturday.
"We attach great importance to your visit," Wang told Tillerson at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
It is Tillerson's first visit to China since he assumed office last month. He is also the first cabinet-level official in the new administration of the United States to visit China.
"We have in-depth discussions on arranging a recent meeting between two presidents and starting relevant preparations," Wang said, adding that the two sides agreed to keep close communication to ensure a successful meeting between the two presidents as well as exchanges at other levels in the next stage.
"Your visit marks a very important step to push forward that process," Wang told Tillerson.
China-U.S. ties are now transitioning and developing steadily along a positive direction, Wang said, calling for implementation of the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.
Wang said China is willing to work with the U.S. side on communication and cooperation, enhancing trust and properly handling differences to promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties in the new phase along the right track so as to benefit the people of two countries and the world at large.
Wang called for more cooperation in foreign affairs, the economy and trade, the military, law enforcement, people-to-people exchanges and local communication.
The essence of China-U.S. trade relations is mutual benefit, said Wang, encouraging both countries to expand trade and investment cooperation and properly handle trade fictions.
He also called on the two countries to reinforce coordination on hotspot issues including the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Afghanistan, Syria and maintain close communication under the multilateral framework such as the United Nations, the G20 and the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
Wang also restated China's position on Taiwan and the South China Sea issues, emphasizing that China and the United States should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, discreetly deal with sensitive issues to protect bilateral ties from unnecessary influences.
Reviewing the achievements of bilateral ties, Tillerson said it is necessary for both countries to have closer cooperation and coordination in face with changing international situation.
Tillerson said the United States adheres to the one-China policy and is willing to work with China to implement the consensus reached by their leaders and explore more cooperation in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
The United States would like to have more high-level exchanges with China, and more dialogue in diplomatic security, macroeconomic policy coordination, law enforcement, cyberspace and people-to-people exchanges.
Tillerson's visit aims to make "political preparations" for the meeting between two presidents, and both sides would make the best use of this chance to seek common ground, said Jia Xiudong, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies.
He said the necessity of strengthening cooperation between China and the United States have been further strengthened since Trump took office.
"What Tillerson said on bilateral ties this afternoon sent positive signals," said Jia.
IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION ON KOREAN PENINSULA NUCLEAR ISSUE
Tillerson's visit came at a time when the crisis on the Korean Peninsula was aggravated by the recent test firing of missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), so far the most substantial reaction to the Seoul-Washington military exercises, and the controversial U.S. deployment of the THAAD anti-missile systems in the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Wang said that he had "an in-depth discussion" with Tillerson on the Korean Pensinular nuclear issue and "reached consensus on the general direction" in their talks.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is now at a new crossroad, Wang said when meeting the press together with Tillerson.
It would either escalate and finally lead to conflicts or have a breakthrough to resume negotiations and bring the nuclear issue back onto the track of dialogue, Wang said.
"We hope that all concerned parties, including the United States, would be cool-headed and make wise choices," he said.
Wang said both countries firmly support the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledge a comprehensive and strict implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, Wang said.
"We both hope to find ways to resume talks and will not give up any efforts committed to realizing peace," he added.
Wang said China would like to continue the dialogue on the issue with the United States, as this is an important area of cooperation between the two countries.
Tillerson told reporters that during the talks with Wang, they share a common view that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level.
"We have committed ourselves to doing everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out," Tillerson told reporters.
During the meeting, Wang reiterated China's opposition to the deployment of the THAAD in the ROK.
Also on Saturday, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with Tillerson, the second meeting between the two within one month as Yang visited Washington D.C. late February.
Tillerson arrived in Beijing on Saturday from Seoul. This is his first official Asian tour which began on Wednesday and also took him to Japan.