China-U.S. relations have been affected by some “negative factors,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump during a phone call on Monday.
The conversation came after a series of recent actions by the U.S. related to Taiwan, North Korea and the South China Sea that have been labeled by Beijing as “wrong decisions” or “provocations.”
Xi told Trump he hoped the U.S. would handle Taiwan-related issues appropriately and that China places great importance on Trump’s reaffirmation of the “One China” policy, which prohibits countries that have diplomatic relations with Beijing from pursuing official ties with Taiwan, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
On Thursday, the U.S. government angered Beijing when it approved a 1.4-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a breakaway province.
China asked the U.S. to cancel the deal lest it would damage “China-US relations and cooperation in important fields,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.
A U.S. government official said US arms sales to Taiwan reflect no change in the “one China” policy and are based on an assessment of Taiwan’s defence needs.
The U.S. government also announced on Thursday it had imposed sanctions against China’s Bank of Dandong over its alleged dealings with North Korea.
China’s Foreign Ministry retorted that the sanctions were a “wrong decision” made arbitrarily by the US outside the framework of the UN Security Council.
On Sunday, a U.S. warship sailed close to a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, prompting an angry response from Beijing, which described the action as a “serious provocation.”
The guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem came within 12 miles of an island in the Paracel Archipelago, which is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, CNN reported.
The ship was part of a U.S. Navy “freedom of navigation exercise,” the news network added.
The operation “infringed upon China’s sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
China had dispatched military vessels and fighter planes to warn the U.S. vessel, said Wu Qian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense.
“The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security,” Lu added.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane that is believed to be rich in resources. An international court in 2016 invalidated China’s claims to the region in a case filed by the Philippines, but Beijing does not recognise the ruling.
This is the second “freedom of navigation operation” that has taken place during Donald Trump’s presidency.
The exercises were done routinely under the Obama administration, however, Trump was at first mostly silent on the South China Sea issue while he turned to China for help in reining in the nuclear threat from North Korea.
Trump and Xi also discussed the nuclear threat from North Korea during the phone call.
Both leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula,” the White House said.(dpa/NAN)