China, US communicating on presidents' meeting: Premier Li

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday meets the press in Beijing after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday that China and the United States are in communication on a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the annual session of China's national legislature, Li said "diplomatic authorities of the two countries are already engaged concerning a face-to-face meeting" between the two presidents.

The China-U.S. relationship is crucial not just to the two countries themselves, but also to regional and global peace, security, and stability, he said.

"Hence we must work together to continuously take it forward," he said.

Li noted that China-U.S. ties have been going forward despite various twists and turns, but said he feels optimistic about future China-U.S. relations, because "after several decades of growth of bilateral relations, the two countries now share a wide range of common interests."

Though there are still differences between China and the United States over issues such as jobs, the exchange rate, and security, "it is important for both countries to uphold strategic interests, sit down to talk to each other, so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust," he said.

For those differences that cannot be resolved for the time being and any time soon, they can be shelved and the two countries can continue to focus on expanding their common interests, he said.

"(And) as we do so, the percentage of differences in overall China-U.S. relations will continuously come down," Li said.

He went on to say that China does not want to see a trade war between the world's biggest and second biggest economies.

"That would not make our trade fairer and it hurts us both," he said.

If there were a trade war, it would be foreign-funded companies, particularly U.S. firms, that would first bear the brunt, Li said, citing an article written by an authoritative international think tank.

"No mater what bumps the China-U.S. relationship may run into, we hope this relationship will continue to move forward in the positive direction," he said.

He said China believes the people of both countries have the wisdom to properly manage their differences, adding that "there is a need and there are also conditions for us to continue to expand our common interests."

The Chinese Premier underlined the importance of the one-China policy, noting that it is the "foundation" of China-U.S. relations.

He said the presidents of the two countries have talked to each other over the phone, and they have agreed to push forward China-U.S. ties, adding that President Trump and senior officials from the U.S. administration have explicitly stated that Washington will continue to follow the one-China policy.

"This policy constitutes the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, which has remained unshaken in spite of the changing circumstances, nor can this foundation be undermined," Li said.

"With that foundation in place, we believe there are bright prospects for China.-U.S. cooperation," he added.

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