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Li stresses trust is key element

China Daily

Discussions with US treasury chief look to expand areas of common interests, goals

Li stresses trust is key element

Premiere Li Keqiang meets US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Beijing on Wednesday. Xu Jingxing / China Daily

In developing a new type of relationship, China and the United States should boost trust and expand areas of common interests despite any differences, Premier Li Keqiang said during a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Wednesday.

Against a background of sluggish economic growth, the international community should make concerted efforts to prioritize shared economic concerns, Li said to Lew, who is in China as a special representative of the US president.

As the world's two largest economies, China and the US play a vital role in helping global business recover, Li said.

Commenting on the new type of relationship between China and the US, Li said the two countries should work together toward a partnership of cooperation, featuring respect and mutual benefit. Both countries must see the big picture and not get bogged down in minor details, he said.

China, Li said, will continue to attach the highest importance to relations with the US and is willing to contribute to the steady and healthy development of ties through cooperation, inclusion, and competition.

Li's meeting with Lew followed President Xi Jinping's meeting with the treasury secretary on Tuesday. During that meeting, Xi stressed the importance China places on US relations, despite some differences, and that the new relationship will have core interests at its heart.

The China trip is Lew's first major foreign visit since his confirmation in the post last month, and it comes amid wrangling between the countries, including over mergers and acquisitions and trade in solar panels.

Last month, a private US computer security company said a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the US.

The relationship between China and the US is entering a transitional period, said Li. Last week, a new national leadership, with both President Xi and Premier Li, was elected by the National People's Congress.

During the premier's debut news conference on Sunday, Li said that China prioritizes sustaining economic growth and is committed to reform. Li also pledged to forge "a new type of relationship'' with the US, while calling cyberhacking accusations against China a "presumption of guilt".

"Investment and trade cooperation have been, and should continue to be, the mainstream of bilateral relations," said Zhou Shijian, a senior expert on China-US economic ties at Tsinghua University.

"China's increasingly expanding domestic consumption is quite appealing for the US, and also, Chinese investment creates quite a number of jobs in the US," he added.

In 2012, China-US trade jumped by 8.5 percent from a year earlier and reached a record high of $484.68 billion.

Last year, US foreign direct investment in China increased by 4.5 percent year-on-year to $3.13 billion, while the world's second-largest economy's FDI dropped by 3.7 percent in 2012.

Despite the good economic figures, disagreements between the two countries have been accelerating. Last year, a report by two members of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee cited two Chinese telecom equipment firms, Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp, as posing a potential national security threat to the US.

During the past few years, the US has been active in advancing regional trade pacts.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, also known as the TPP led by the US and covering 11 nations, is expected to be concluded in 2013.