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Top Chinese diplomat urges closer ties with US under Biden

BEIJING (AP) — China’s top foreign policy adviser is urging closer ties with the U.S. under the Biden administration, while saying Washington must “effectively respect China’s position and concerns on the Taiwan issue.”

The head of the ruling Communist Party’s office on foreign affairs, Yang Jiechi, said the sides will have their differences but should not allow them to derail relations.

In remarks Tuesday to the influential U.S. National Committee on United States-China Relations, Yang continued the positive tone China is taking toward the new U.S. administration following heightened tensions under former President Donald Trump. Ties sunk to a new low over differences on trade, human rights and Taiwan, the self-governing democracy that China claims as its own territory and threatens to bring under its control by military force.

“China and the United States are two large countries with different histories, cultures and systems, and thus have differences on some issues. It is crucial to properly control them and not allow them to interfere with the overall development of bilateral relations,” Yang said in the videotaped conversation.

The U.S. should fulfill its commitments to Beijing “abide by the one-China principle, and effectively respect China’s position and concerns on the Taiwan issue,” Yang said.

The positive tone fuels perceptions that China’s leaders are hoping for a fresh start in relations and a more civil discourse with Washington, even while deep divisions remain.

The U.S. is pressing China over trade, allegations of intellectual property theft and policies toward Tibet, Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. China resents U.S. support for Taiwan along with the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea and what it sees as a broad-based U.S. campaign to restrain its growth.

Biden’s nominee for United Nations ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, last week called China “a strategic adversary” that threatens the world and expressed regret for a speech she gave in 2019 that praised China’s initiatives in Africa and made no mention of its human rights abuses.

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