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China looks to forging effective partnership with Trump administration, says ambassador

Beijing has called for forging an effective cooperative partnership with the future United States administration led by Donald Trump amid uncertainty over relations between the two nations after the US presidential election.

Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to Washington, said in an interview with CNN at the weekend that China expects a smooth transition of power in the US, after Trump was elected as the nation’s president in a surprise victory last week.

Trump made harsh remarks about China during his election campaign, vowing to label Beijing a currency manipulator and to impose tariffs on Chinese products.

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Following his victory, Trump’s advisors said the US would continue boosting the capacity of its army and continue its Asia-Pacific pivot, but added that the US would not put all its eggs in one basket.

Observers said it remains to be seen whether the US would focus less on the Asia Pacific region – which has become a friction point between Beijing and Washington – and whether, if the US could retreat from the region, that would be a strategic opportunity for China.

Cui had an upbeat tone on Sino-US ties in the interview, saying the two nations have benefited from their growing relationship and cooperation in recent years, ranging from trade and investment to energy to anti-terrorism.

“I’m confident this will continue,” he said, adding that Beijing wants Washington to continue its role in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I think it will serve everybody’s interests if we can continue to go forward on this track. China is ready and willing to work with any other partners for the continued stability and prosperity in the region, and we certainly see the US as an important partner.”

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Cui said international relations should not be governed by a “zero sum” mindset, and that different nations should accommodate the interests of others.

He said China does not want trade war with any country, and called on both China and the US to play by the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

“As far as the economic relationship is concerned, I think it’s a mutually beneficial one,” he said.

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Trump on Wednesday, and said he hoped to work with the president-elect to further develop Sino-US relations.

Soon after Trump was elected, conservationists expressed concern that the new US administration might not recognise the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Trump has previously called global warming a “hoax” created by China to contain the US.

“Climate change is a global challenge, and all countries should work together to respond to it,” Cui said.

He added that China would continue making efforts to respond to climate change.