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China Ready for Trump's 'State Visit-Plus': Cui

Oct 31 , 2017

US President Donald Trump's first state visit to China, coming at a "historical moment" after a key Party congress in Beijing, will be a successful trip with significant outcomes on trade, the Korean Peninsula and other issues, China's top envoy in Washington said on Monday.

Trump is expected to arrive in Beijing on Nov 8 for what Ambassador Cui Tiankai called a "state visit-plus" featuring talks, a military honor guard and formal banquet and some "special arrangements", whereby China reciprocates the hospitality the US president and the first family showed their visitors at the Mar-a-Lago meeting in Florida in April, Cui told a briefing.

Cui said the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China reaffirmed China's commitment to following a path of peaceful development, a strategy of opening-up, and efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Beijing also will ramp up its close and effective coordination with other countries, especially major powers like the US.

Trump will be the first head of state of a major power to visit China at this historical moment, Cui said.

During the visit, the two presidents are expected to chart the course of development for the world's most important bilateral relationship, he said.

The ambassador said the Korean Peninsula situation will be a priority in the talks between the two presidents.

"I hope they reach more agreement between them and will give us a clear guidance on how the two countries could handle this issue together," Cui said. "We are taking measures to implement the (United Nations Security Council) sanctions, although obviously many of the sanctions would be implemented with a high cost for China itself, because we are DPRK's neighbor."

Cui stressed that the Korean Peninsula issue cannot be solved by China itself. It requires a concerted effort of all the parties concerned, including the US and the DPRK.

"It is clear that if only China is making its efforts, while others are doing things that could lead to escalation of tensions, this issue would not be solved, and it would become even more difficult, and the end result would hurt everybody's interest," he said.

Cui said there is a strong sense of urgency regarding the peninsula, adding that China is open to any talks between any parties as long as they are conducive to a peaceful solution, to a negotiated solution of the nuclear issue.

"I'm sure at the conclusion of the visit, both sides would have something to say about this issue," Cui said.

Cui expressed equal confidence on the trade and economic issues, another priority of Trump's visit to China.

The ambassador said the two sides at the working level already have spent a lot of time and energy on the trade issue and are making progress.

"I am quite confident there would be a significant outcome or what people might call 'deliverable' on the economic and trade front for the president's visit," he said.

Cui said the rising trade disputes between the two largest economies are only a small part of the economic relationship. They should be handled in a constructive and pragmatic manner, so that they do not undermine the overall economic relationship.

"If we are really engaged in a joint effort for a mutually beneficial solution to these disputes, we can still have a win-win outcome," he said. "We are preparing for the economic outcome in the constructive and pragmatic spirit. At the conclusion of the president's visit, when the two sides have their respective press releases, there would be significant outcome on the economic side."

Cui also said it would take time to narrow the gaping US trade deficit with China, as it is a "structural" problem; one of the main reasons for the trade imbalance is the different positions of China and the US in the global production chain.

He said China doesn't want to accumulate a huge trade surplus, which in the long run may hurt the Chinese economy. Cui said that if the US side could lift some of the restrictions it has in place on some exports to China, of high tech products for civilian use, that could greatly increase US exports and help achieve more balanced trade between the two sides.

Cui also said that the US has no territorial claim in the South China Sea and should let countries in the region manage their disputes in a "friendly and effective way".

"We are intensifying our efforts on discussion of the COC, the code of conduct, and we are making good progress," Cui said. "I think it would certainly be better if others, including the United States, would not try to interfere in this constructive process, would not try to create obstacles to early agreement on the code of conduct."

Trump's visit to China would be his third stop in Asia, preceded by his stay in Japan and South Korea and followed by visits to Vietnam and the Philippines between Nov 5-14, according to the White House.

"I think almost everyone agrees that his visit to China might be the most important part of his Asian visit, and hopefully, it would be the most productive and constructive," Cui said.

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