China Says Relations With U.S. Won't Descend Into Confrontation

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized those calling for a decoupling of the world’s biggest economies and said the interests of the U.S. and China remain “inseparable.”

“Some individuals vow to decouple our economies -- this is just their wishful thinking,” Wang said on Friday at a briefing during the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing. “Decoupling from China would mean decoupling from opportunities, from the future and in a sense even from the world.”

China Says Relations With U.S. Won't Descend Into Confrontation

While Wang didn’t name anyone specifically, some hardliners in the Trump administration such as White House trade adviser Peter Navarro have sought a strategic decoupling of the world’s two biggest economies.

“Our two countries should not, and will not, descend into confrontation,” Wang said. He reeled off statistics on economic ties between the countries, including two-way trade totaling more than $630 billion in 2018, a stock of mutual investment of more than $240 billion and more than 5 million visitors in both directions in 2018.

“We still have a positive outlook on China-U.S. relations, and I think this view is shared by broad sections of American society,” he said. “Almost all major U.S. corporations have business in China and all U.S. states are engaged in cooperation with China,” he said.

The remarks come as President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping reportedly near a trade deal.

“I am more hopeful now than I have been in a long time that we will see a significant trade agreement reached addressing some of these fundamental issues that have not be addressed for a long, long time,” Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Those issues include intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer and access to certain aspects of the Chinese market, Branstad said.

“We want something that’s going to be of substance, addressing these fundamental issues and something that is going to be enforceable,” he said.

Branstad said he didn’t know what enforcement options had been proposed by the U.S. More work remains on an agreement that will ensure China follows through on its commitments, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress late last month.

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