Xi says US-China confrontation would be 'disaster'

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) applauds after China's President Xi Jinping gave his speech during the opening ceremony of the Sixth Round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on 9 July 2014. Mr Xi (right) is hosting a US delegation led by US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) in Beijing

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Confrontation with the US would be a "disaster", Chinese President Xi Jinping has said as he called for mutual respect between the two nations.

Mr Xi's comments came at an annual China-US dialogue held in Beijing.

Diplomats are expected to discuss China's currency, North Korea and tensions in the South China Sea.

The US delegation is led by Secretary of State John Kerry, who in his opening remarks said that the US was not seeking to "contain" China.

Mr Xi said the two countries' interests were now "more than ever interconnected", with much to gain from co-operation.

"China-US confrontation, to the two countries and the world, would definitely be a disaster," he said.

"We should mutually respect and treat each other equally, and respect the other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect each other's choice on the path of development."

Mr Kerry, meanwhile, said the US did "not seek to contain China" and urged Beijing not to "interpret it as an overall strategy" when the US differed from China on certain issues.

US President Barack Obama also said in a statement that the US "welcomes the emergence of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China".

"We remain determined to ensure that co-operation defines the overall relationship," he said.

'Responsible role'

But US leaders have also called on China to do its part in maintaining stability in Asia.

Mr Kerry said the US welcomed a China that "contributes to the stability and development of the region and chooses to play a responsible role in world affairs".

US Navy personnel raise their flag during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2014, a US-Philippines military exercise, aboard USS John S. McCain in the South China Sea near waters claimed by China on 28 June 2014. A US-Philippines military drill took place in the South China Sea near disputed waters two weeks ago

The talks come with China locked in bitter disputes with several neighbours in the region, notably Vietnam and the Philippines, over claims in the South China Sea.

In turn, the US has stepped up joint military exercises with the Philippines and its military presence there, a move over which China has raised concerns. One of the latest exercises was conducted in the South China Sea near disputed waters two weeks ago.

Increased anti-Japan rhetoric has also come from China in recent weeks, following a decision by the Japanese cabinet to reinterpret the constitution, giving the Japanese military greater latitude to fight overseas.

Both countries claim a string of islands in the East China Sea and ties are severely strained over this issue.

The US and China have also had disagreements in recent months, particularly over cyber-attacks.

In May, US authorities charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into American businesses. Beijing has vigorously denied the charges, accusing the US of launching cyber-attacks against China.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    China v US is possibly the most terrifying prospect to-date. They could both level the planet in a matter of days. It would be the end of the world as we know it.

    China could quickly destabilise the US via its $ debt holdings, limiting the US response - although the US could destroy all China's economic centres in a matter of hours.

    Let's just hope they continue to get on...

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Theres an elephant in the room here.. USA in more indebted than ever before and the primary holder of said debt is China.

    Neither want to think about what would happen if USA cant pay its debts but you can be sure when the issue comes to a head a war, recession or both is on the cards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    China, I believe, is seeking an understanding with the US on what might be termed 'spheres of interest' in a way similar to those sought by Stalin in the Soviet era. Both parties will seek to avoid damaging each other so long as such 'spheres of interest' can be agreed. The Chines Navy now has a blue water capability to support its expansion into the Pacific but recognises US sea power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Confrontations have ALWAYS been disasters, but the consequences have rarely stopped them.

    The disaster part they are talking about, is not loss of human life, but loss of wealth & wealth making.

    China, actually has more internal "confrontations" than external ones.

    China is many older nations & tribes glued together by threat of violence, these "confrontations" have increased in China

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Better relationships can only be good. With the middle east in turmoil two countries that can get on despite having differences proves that a better future just might be possible Both countries have their faults but when you compare them to Syria it becomes obvious that putting aside differences is infinitely preferable. Tolerating things that you disagree with makes more sense than conflict


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