China’s new premier Li Qiang adopted a conciliatory tone towards the United States while speaking at his debut news conference as head of China’s cabinet on Monday (Mar 13).
This was in contrast to Chinese President Xi Jinping and new Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who had sharp words for Washington over the course of the nation’s parliamentary meetings last week.
In a softening of tone, Mr Li pointed out that bilateral trade between China and the US reached a record high last year, and said that the two can, and must, cooperate.
“In recent years, some in the US have been trumpeting the idea of decoupling with China and sometimes it could become quite a hot topic in the media. But I wonder how many people can truly benefit from this kind of hype,” said Mr Li, who took only one question on foreign affairs.
“China and the United States are closely intertwined economically. We have both benefited from the other side’s development. Encirclement and suppression is in no one’s interest.”
HARSH WORDS FOR THE US
In comments to delegates last week, Mr Xi had made rare direct mention of the US, accusing Washington of trying to contain China.
“Western countries, led by the US, have implemented all-round containment, encirclement and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented and severe challenges to our country’s development,” President Xi had said.
Foreign Minister Qin Gang had echoed Mr Xi’s remarks, warning the US of “catastrophic consequences” if Washington continued down the wrong path.