China has called on the United States to stop its “misguided actions” amid worsening bilateral relations in the wake of hefty trade tariffs and recent allegations of Beijing’s meddling in the upcoming US midterm elections.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks as he received his US counterpart Mike Pompeo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday.
The two engaged in a bitter exchange of criticism after the top US diplomat arrived in the Chinese capital on the final leg of a three-day East Asia tour focused on North Korea’s nuclear program.
Wang told Pompeo that Washington has “stepped up rhetoric over trade tensions” after a raft of tit-for-tat tariffs on billion of dollars in US and Chinese goods.
The top Chinese diplomat also accused the US of making “a series of moves” on Taiwan – a self-ruling island that Beijing regards as a breakaway province – and “other issues” that harm his country’s sovereignty.
“These actions have affected the mutual trust between both sides, and has cast a shadow over the prospect of China-US relations, which completely go against the interest of our two peoples,” Wang said.
“We require that the US stop such misguided actions,” he said, adding that the two countries should pursue cooperation and “not descend into conflict and confrontation.”
The US secretary of state responded to Wang’s remarks by saying that the two countries were stuck in a “fundamental disagreement,” expressing hope that they could make progress on resolving their differences.
“We have great concerns over the actions that China has taken and I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss each of those today because this is an incredibly important relationship,” Pompeo said.
The top US diplomat also lamented the cancelation of a meeting between US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, which was supposed to take place this month in Beijing, saying the forum was an “important opportunity” for discussion.
Tensions have increased between US and China in recent months, with the two sides imposing several rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s imports.