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Pompeo, Chinese counterpart stress need for cooperation in sharp comments

Pompeo, Chinese counterpart stress need for cooperation in sharp comments
© Anna Moneymaker

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoPompeo violated ethics rules, State Department watchdog finds Why the US needs to clear the way for international justice Tim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa MORE and his Chinese counterpart on Monday agreed on the need for cooperation between the two countries, but found little additional common ground during a brief media appearance, according to multiple reports.

Reuters reported that the two leaders exchanged pleasantries during an appearance in Beijing that featured an unusually sharp tone. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi blamed the U.S. for escalating tensions over trade and for taking harmful action in Taiwan.

“We believe this has been a direct attack on our mutual trust, and has cast a shadow on China-U.S. relations,” Wang reportedly said. “We demand that the U.S. side stop this kind of mistaken action.”

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“The issues that you characterized, we have a fundamental disagreement," Pompeo responded, according to Reuters.

“We have great concerns about the actions that China has taken, and I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss each of those today because this is an incredibly important relationship,” he added.

Tensions between the two countries have been steadily escalating in recent months on multiple fronts. 

The Trump administration has slapped roughly $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to change the country's trade practices. While it has not yielded the desired result, it has prompted China to levy tens of billions of dollars worth of duties on U.S. products, raising concerns of a trade war.

In addition, the two countries have been at odds over military activity in the South China Sea.

President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE last month alleged without evidence at the United Nations General Assembly that China was interfering in the 2018 election to hurt Republican candidates. He later cited an insert in The Des Moines Register purchased by Chinese media that was critical of his tariff policy.

Vice President Pence ratcheted up the attacks on China during a speech last week.

"To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American president," Pence said.