China was not pleased with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s harsh criticisms on Wednesday, responding that the US should “properly handle” the two countries differences.
While speaking about strengthening US-India ties, Tillerson took the opportunity to put a surprising amount of focus on China, saying that the country has “undermined the international rules-based order.”
The comments were curious considering they came both ahead of Trump’s first state visit to China, and on the opening day of China’s all-important party congress.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, China foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that “China steadfastly upholds the international order with the Unites Nations at the core and based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”
“China will by no means pursue its own development at the expense of other countries’ interests,” Lu added. “Neither will China give up its own legitimate rights and interests.”
“We hope that the United States can put China’s development and China’s positive role in the world into perspective, abandon its biased views of China and make concerted efforts with China to focus on cooperation, properly handle differences and maintain the momentum of the steady growth of China-US relations,” Lu concluded in response to the question.
With President Trump and his secretary of state at times seeming to be at odds on other issues, including North Korea, it remains to be seen how this fits into the White House strategy for Trump’s visit to China. The commitment to strengthening economic and military ties with India makes more sense, timed ahead of Tillerson’s visit to India next week.