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Tillerson, Yang speak after China-ASEAN agreement on South China Sea
May 20, 2017, 5:37 am

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, DC on 1 March 2017 [Xinhua]

China will closely coordinate with the United States to prepare for the upcoming first round of the China-US diplomatic and security dialogue to ensure its success, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said Saturday.

Yang, who outranks the foreign minister, made the remarks in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The talks came a day after China and South Asian capitals agreed to a  historic framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Maritime disputes between China on the one hand and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan on the other have caused tensions in the region and often led to a war of words between Beijing and Washington.

China and Southeast Asian countries agreed on Thursday to a framework for a long-mooted code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea, China’s foreign ministry said.

Beijing has long accused Washington of meddling in the South China Sea. The US conducts periodic air and naval patrols near the disputed islands that have angered Beijing.

Beijing claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, a maritime region believed to hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and through which roughly $4.5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year.

On Saturday, Tillerson said the United States will coordinate with China in preparation for the dialogue and he hopes the talks will yield positive results.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, held meetings in April at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, China-U.S. relations, guided by the consensus reached by the two leaders, have made important and positive progress, Yang said.

Yang urged the two countries to continue high level official contact and execute the 100-day plan for economic cooperation established between the two countries. He called on both sides to continue to work closely on international issues.

Earlier on Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced the U.S. had reached a trade deal with Beijing.

Yang and Tillerson also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern such as the Korean Peninsula tensions.

Earlier in March in Beijing, Tillerson said the Trump administration and Chinese government were committed to “doing everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out”.

“We share a common view and a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high and that things have reached a rather dangerous level,” Tillerson said during a press conference with China’s foreign minister.

 

 

TBP and Agencies

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