China tells United States to end criticism

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China’s foreign minister has told visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Washington should stop what he called groundless attacks on his country’s policies.

Wang Yi said he told Mr Pompeo during a meeting that a shadow has been cast “over the future of China-US relations”.

China and the United States are at odds over trade and Beijing’s militarisation of islands it claims in the South China Sea.

Mr Pompeo, who arrived from North Korea, told Mr Yi he wanted to discuss his meetings with its leader, Kim Jong Un, and efforts to achieve the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr Pompeo met Mr Wang and Yang Jiechi, a senior Cabinet official and former foreign minister, after the talks on Sunday with Mr Kim.

Mr Pompeo also visited Japan and South Korea, where he said Monday in Seoul that there had been “significant progress” toward an agreement for the North to give up its nuclear weapons.

Mr Wang appealed to Mr Pompeo to cease actions that Beijing sees as threatening its interests in order to avoid disrupting cooperation over North Korea and other issues.

China Asia Pompeo
A meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi (Andy Wong, AP)

In their later meeting, Mr Yang expressed Chinese frustration with Washington while avoiding specifics, telling Mr Pompeo relations are “facing challenges”.

Washington and Beijing “should and must make the correct choices,” Mr Yang said.

“We hope the United States and China can meet each other halfway and conscientiously fulfil the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries,” Mr Yang said.

In Seoul, Mr Pompeo said he and Mr Kim had agreed to soon begin working-level talks on details of denuclearisation and placement of international inspectors at one of North Korea’s main nuclear facilities.

Mr Pompeo said they came close to finalising a date and venue for the next Kim-Trump meeting.

“It’s a long process,” Mr Pompeo told reporters. “We made significant progress. We’ll continue to make significant progress and we are further along in making that progress than any administration in an awfully long time.”

Mr Pompeo said he and Mr Kim had got “pretty close” to fixing the logistics for the summit but stressed that “sometimes that last inch is hard to close”.

“Most importantly, both the leaders believe there is real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit and so we are going to get it at a time that works for each of the two leaders and at a place that works for both of them,” he said.

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