US -China decoupling will harm both sides, says Chinese premier Li Keqiang

29/05/2020    19

If China and the United States decoupled, it would harm both sides as well as the world, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday (May 28) as he urged both countries to find a way to work together.

"We have all along rejected the Cold War mentality, and decoupling will do neither side any good, it is also harmful for the world," he said.

Li was addressing bilateral relations with the United States at his annual press conference after the closing of meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's Parliament.

His comments come as tensions soar between the two countries over the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong's status, Taiwan and other issues.

On Sunday (May 24), Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said some American politicians were pushing both sides into a "new Cold War".

Last Saturday (May 23), Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe also said tensions between both sides had reached a "high risk" period, noting that China needed to boost its military capabilities.

Li said both sides could work together -- referring to US industrial giant Honeywell, which recently set up its Chinese headquarters in Wuhan, as an example that both sides stood to benefit if they cooperate.

"There are differences in our social system, cultural heritage, and historical backgrounds, so some differences, some disagreements and even frictions may be unavoidable. What's important is how we manage these disagreements and differences," he said.

US President Donald Trump and other American officials have been stepping up provocations of China over the handling of the virus outbreak, referring to Covid-19 as a "Chinese virus".

Washington has suggested that the virus had emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan city, and has demanded a probe into the origins of the pathogen.

He did not directly address comments made by US leaders, but Li said the Sino-US relationship was complex but very important.

"We must use our wisdom to continue to expand common interests and properly manage differences and disagreements," he added. 

Source: The Straits Times