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Chinese official advocates stronger relationship with U.S. under Trump

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Conference Hall of the ministry in Budapest in 2015. (Attila Kisbenedek /AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Conference Hall of the ministry in Budapest in 2015. (Attila Kisbenedek /AFP/Getty Images)

China’s foreign minister on Sunday emphasized a desire to mend bilateral ties under President-elect Donald Trump, though he accused China during his campaign of manipulating U.S. currency and stealing American jobs.

“We want to improve our relations under the Trump administration,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on an official visit to Ankara, according to Reuters.

Trump trounced China during his campaign, saying it was “raping” the U.S. on trade policy and calling climate change a “hoax” produced by the Chinese. He also threatened to hike up tariffs. But the country’s officials tend to take a pragmatic approach to rhetoric espoused during campaigns, waiting instead for actions taken in office.

The new U.S. leader may push China harder on trade deals, but he also could soften the previous president’s “pivot to Asia” policy and pull back from U.S. influence in the region.

Analysts say Chinese leaders are looking for a more transactional relationship, one that doesn’t delve into human rights and stays out of geopolitics. They hope Trump, a businessman with no political experience, will offer that possibility.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory telegram to Trump hours after his win. A commentary last week in the Communist Party-led People’s Daily newspaper said the world’s two biggest economies “must cooperate or perish.”

Wang on Sunday emphasized officials were “ready to improve U.S. ties through mutual understanding.”   

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