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Wang Yi tells US to ‘properly handle ties’ ahead of presidential polls

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called on the United States to properly manage differences with China ahead of the presidential election.

In talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing on Saturday, Wang said the two sides should create positive momentum to their ties.

“China and the US must cherish the positive progress of the last eight years … strategically manage differences, and bring healthy and stable Sino-US relations to the next US government,” Wang was quoted as saying in a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

Concerns are rising whether Sino-US relations will be affected by campaign politics in the US, with Republican candidate Donald Trump saying China was a currency manipulator and Democrat Hillary Clinton also lashing out at China.

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“China and the US can properly manage differences by many mechanisms but clashes cannot be completely ruled out as the US presidential election enters its final stage and both candidates promise a lot to US citizens,” said Pan Rui, an international relations expert at Fudan University. “No matter if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins, it brings uncertainties to Sino-US ties.”

Last week, a US Navy warship passed through waters claimed by China near disputed islands in the South China Sea, a move that the defence ministry described as “gravely illegal” and “intentionally provocative.”

Ahead of talks with Chinese officials, Blinken urged Beijing to tighten sanctions and halt coal imports from North Korea, which has conducted two nuclear tests and 24 missile tests this year.

China remains the North’s only ally and a vital source of hard currency the regime needs for weapons development.