China’s Xi raises ‘negative factors’ in call with Trump


Relations between the US and China have been warmer since Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in April

Chinese President Xi Jinping told US counterpart Donald Trump on Monday that Sino-US relations have been hit by “negative factors” in a phone call following days of US actions that have vexed Beijing.

Trump held separate calls with Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that focused on tensions on the Korean peninsula, but China’s foreign ministry said Xi also invoked the thorny issue of Taiwan.

A series of US moves and China’s angry responses have marked a sharp reversal from the friendly tone struck by Trump since his meeting with Xi at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in April.

Trump infuriated Beijing last week when he approved a $1.3 billion arms sales to Taiwan, a self-governed island that Beijing considers a breakaway province awaiting reunification.

The US administration also imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash, voiced concern about freedom in semi-autonomous Hong Kong and placed the country on a list of the world’s worst human trafficking offenders.

The latest irritant came on Sunday as Beijing lashed out at a “serious political and military provocation” after a US warship sailed close to an island claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

It was the second US “freedom of navigation” patrol in the South China Sea since Trump took office in January, an operation meant to assert the right to sail in disputed waters.

China deployed three warships and two fighter jets to warn the US vessel to “move away”, defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.