China, US work closely on a possible summit

By ZHAO HUANXIN,MO JINGXI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-15 05:55

China and the United States are maintaining close communication on bringing about exchanges between their presidents and at other levels, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

Media reports on Monday said the two presidents would hold their first summit next month.

"Both sides highly value enhancing high-level and other levels of exchanges between the two countries," she said at a daily news conference in Beijing. "We will release further information in a timely manner," Hua said.

The White House said on Monday that a meeting between US President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping was in the works.

"Planning is ongoing for a visit between President Trump and President Xi at a date to be determined," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a news briefing on Monday afternoon.

"We're not ready to confirm that, and we will have more details," he added.

"Any meeting between the presidents of the United States and the People's Republic of China would necessarily cover a broad range of topics of mutual concern."

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a news conference last week that the China-US relationship is transitioning steadily and developing in a positive direction, due to the intense communication and joint efforts of both sides.

"There is no reason why China and the US could not become excellent partners, as long as we act on the consensus reached by our presidents, follow the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," he said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first trip to Asia on Wednesday since becoming Trump's top diplomat about a month ago. The three-nation tour will bring him to China on March 18, after visiting Japan and South Korea.

Also on Monday, Susan Thornton, acting US assistant secretary of state of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Tillerson's trip will, to some extent, be "paving the way" for high-level meetings between the two presidents.

"As you've seen from the communications between the two presidents themselves, there has been talk about their early meeting," she said.

Thornton said Tillerson will meet with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang. He will also hold talks with State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang.

She said the discussion will likely cover the areas of cooperation that "we're looking to continue to pursue, to continue to discuss and make progress on".

Tillerson will try to set out a work plan for the bilateral relationship in the new administration, she said.

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