Mexico seeks closer engagement with China

Mexico seeks closer engagement with China
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A top Chinese government official visited Mexico Monday for bilateral meetings aimed at increasing ties between the two countries.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu separately.

Yang also met Sunday with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE's proposed national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, in New York, reported Reuters.

The Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretariat said in a release that the two countries "agreed to deepen the mutual trust and develop bilateral dialogue on topics of mutual interest through the Mexico-China Strategic Dialogue."

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China and Mexico were both targeted by Trump's campaign for their trade policies. Trump proposed a series of tariffs against both countries, railing at China for alleged currency manipulation and against Mexico for taking American manufacturing jobs.

During his campaign, Trump said he would renegotiate or end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a fundamental deal for Mexican exports.

Mexico is largely dependent on the U.S. economy, with about 80 percent of its exports heading to its northern neighbor. Many analysts have suggested Mexico should diversify its customer base to counter uncertainty over Trump's policies toward the country.

The Chinese government on Monday expressed "serious concern" over Trump's phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen. China considers Taiwan its province, and U.S. policy since 1979 has been to recognize it as such in favor of full diplomatic relations with the mainland.

China and Mexico have traditionally had discrete relations, with the Asian giant much more involved in the commodities-exporting countries of South America.

But China and Mexico have traded high-level official visits over the past few months.

China's vice-premier, Liu Yandong, visited Mexico in August and emphasized the importance of the bilateral relationship to Mexican senators.

In October, Mexico's top two military commanders, the secretaries of Defense and of the Navy, went to Beijing in a surprise visit, shortly after the first-ever public appearance of Mexican military attachés in a Washington, D.C., forum with Pentagon officials.

Yang is a member of China's powerful State Council, a five-member body that ranks above ministerial level, and a former ambassador to the United States and foreign minister.