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    Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan

    China's President Xi Calls for 'Mutual Trust' With US Amid Maritime Rivalry

    © AFP 2019 / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO
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    Speaking on US-China rivalry in the Asia-Pacific, Chinese President Xi Jinping said both countries had extensive mutual interests in the region and should learn to cooperate.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the United States to build mutual trust and refrain from adopting a confrontational stance on any divisive issues, at Monday’s opening of the annual US-China dialogue.

    "We should enhance the mutual trust between our two countries," Xi said in Beijing, as quoted by the South China Morning Post. "The key is not to adopt a confrontational attitude towards any differences."

    Speaking on US-China rivalry in the Asia-Pacific, the Chinese president said both countries had extensive mutual interests in the region and should learn to cooperate.

    "[We] should hold regular dialogues, cooperation, cope with various challenges and work hard to cultivate a mutual, instead of an exclusive, circle of friends between the two countries," Xi said.

    He emphasized that Beijing favored a "dual-track approach" to territorial rows in the South China Sea, meaning nations that are involved in a dispute should talk directly to each other.

    "Based on the principle of the dual-track approach, the South China Sea disputes can be properly resolved," the Chinese leader noted.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the opening ceremony that disputes over South China Sea territories should be handled in line with international laws.

    "We are looking for a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the South China Sea and oppose any country resolving claims through unilateral action," he was quoted by the media as saying.

    The 6th US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue started in Beijing on Monday amid rising tensions over the South China Sea. The United States criticizes China for building islands to claim vast areas of the sea, which are also contested by China’s neighbors.

    The talks also tackled strategic security issues, such as maritime security and North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, according to the US Department of State.


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