China-US relations to progress no matter who wins 2016 election: premier

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2016. Photo: Xinhua

China-US relations will move forward no matter who becomes the next president of the US, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday, adding that the two countries share far more common interests than differences.

"China-US relations have seen so many ups and downs since the establishment of the diplomatic relations decades ago, but the big trend of the development of China-US relations will not change,” Li made the remark at a press conference after the closing of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

While China and US have both common interests and differences, many people have kept focusing on the differences for a long time, especially some sharp issues, said Li, pointing out what has been ignored is that China became America’s biggest trade partner last year, and the total trade volume is nearly $560 billion.

Although China and the US are always at odds on some issues like human rights, cyber security and South China Sea, the two countries have firm business ties and leaders of the two sides are negotiating the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

During the news conference, Li told the reporters that China will continue to push the program, and will open China’s market access to US investors gradually.

He also stressed that the two countries should conduct the treaty talks on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

"American businessmen know better than any other people that the development of China-US trade relations is a win-win process. … Our mutual benefits will continue to increase, and we have hundreds of dialogue opportunities to solve our differences. Only if the dialogue is based on sincerity can we manage our differences and continue to broaden our mutual interests,” Li noted.

In response to President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia strategy, Li said that China and US can cooperate with each other in the Asia-Pacific region to maintain regional stability.

China has always advocated stable surroundings and friendly relations with its neighbors, and needs a stable neighborhood and peaceful international environment for its development, which remains a top priority for the world's second-largest economy, Li said.

Li also noted that countries from inside and outside the region, such as the US, all have the responsibility to safeguard regional peace.

"The US has never left the Asia Pacific, we can cooperate in the Asia-Pacific region and properly handle our differences," he said.

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