China News Service, China’s second earliest established state-level news agency, reported on March 19 that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Beijing in preparation for the meeting between China’s top leader Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump and to discuss a reduction in the tension on the Korean peninsula.
According to the article, during Tillerson’s two-day visit in Beijing, he characterized the U.S. views on bilateral relations as “non-conflict, non-confrontational, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.” Wang Fan, vice president of the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, told CNS that this is exactly the core concept of the new model of major country relations between China and the U.S. that Beijing proposed. Wang interpreted Tillerson’s position as a positive, friendly signal that the U.S. voluntarily sent out, which amounts to a de facto recognition of China’s new model of major country relations.
A commentary at china.com.cn, which is directly affiliated with the State Council Information Office, noted that this is the first time a high-level U.S. official used the term “mutual respect” publicly. The commentary added that, when dealing with officials in the Obama administration, U.S. officials had open exchanges in closed door meetings, but they were reluctant to use the term publicly. The concern was that it would lead its allies to believe that China was an equal partner with the U.S., which would weaken U.S. authority in carrying out its Asia-Pacific strategies.
The New York Times, in a Chinese and English bilingual analysis, cited an unnamed diplomat in Beijing as saying that Mr. Tillerson was almost certainly sterner in private. The diplomat said, “I believe Tillerson repeated in the meetings what he said publicly in South Korea and Japan, and backed up what Trump said in his tweet.” In his Twitter post on Mar 17, Trump said China had “done little to help” in solving the issue of North Korea.
Sources: China News Agency, March 19, 2017
china.com.cn, March 19, 2017
New York Times, March 20, 2017