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China, U.S. should do “addition and subtraction” to uphold peace, stability in Asia-Pacific: former FM

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by April 2, 2016 General

SINGAPORE, April 2 (Xinhua) — Former Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said on Saturday that China and the United States should do proper “addition and subtraction” in bilateral relationship, and expand pragmatic cooperation to uphold peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.

Li made the remarks in his keynote speech at the Singapore Forum under the theme “New Model of Great Powers Relations: What it means for Asia?”

The relationship between China and the United States is different from the Soviet-U.S. relations during the Cold War, he said, adding that the two countries share vast common interests which are the corner stones of China-U.S. ties.

With regard to the South China Sea issue, Li noted that the South China Sea is not an issue between China and the United States but now it has become a major issue in their bilateral relations.

“This is because the United States is not adapted to the development of China and that is a typical Cold War and hegemony mentality,” he said.

The United States has repeatedly criticized China for the land reclamation in the South China Sea, and has been instigating other countries to put pressure on China, Li said, stressing that it is completely legal for China to conduct construction on its own islands and reefs.

“The United States linked China’s construction on its own islands and reefs in the South China Sea to militarization. However, it turned a blind eye when many of China’s neighbouring countries are constructing airports and deploying monitoring weapons,” the former Chinese top diplomat said.

“The United States requests China to comply with UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), yet it is not a signatory to the treaty. Furthermore, Washington claimed that it does not take sides on the South China Sea issue but recently the U.S. State Department publicly criticized China, saying that Beijing’s claim of sovereignty does not conform to the international law.”

Li further said that tensions in China-U.S. relations lie in the U.S. anxiety over the development of China. “Some politicians even think that a stronger China would replace the U.S. role in Asia, which is a typical Cold War and hegemony mentality.”

In order to better safeguard regional peace and prosperity, Li suggested that they should do “addition and subtraction,” and adhere to the direction of building a new type of relations between the major countries.

For the addition, Li explained, they should expand positive aspects of bilateral relations through pragmatic cooperation.

“China and the United States need to cooperate on issues ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to climate change, from peace in the Middle East to the development of Africa, and from the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue to the reconciliation in Afghanistan. We should make the cake of common interests bigger,” he said.

“The subtraction refers to the contradictions in bilateral relations, which should be eliminated or reduced through effective communications.”

Talking about the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Li said that while it is complicated, China takes a simple and clear stand – that is no party on the peninsula shall develop, own, deploy or import nuclear weapons.

“Every party has promised that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear-free. That’s why China has expressed firm opposition to the DPRK’s nuclear test,” Li said. “In the meantime, we hope that every party remains restrained and does not use the issue as an excuse to do something that is not conducive to peace.”

The Singapore Forum is an annual flagship event of S. Rajaratnam Endowment, which establishes itself as a key platform to discuss geo-strategic, politico-economic and governance issues facing Asia with an impact on regional development and stability. Over 200 business and political leaders attended this year’s forum.

Related:

Spotlight: China, U.S. agree to expand common interests, control differences

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, agreed here Thursday to deepen China-U.S. cooperation in various fields while controlling differences in a bid to consolidate and expand their countries’ common interests.

The latest sign of a closer relationship between Beijing and Washington came as the two leaders met on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), discussing an array of issues ranging from macroeconomic policies and nuclear security cooperation, to maritime issues and Korean Peninsula stability.

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