Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team at Davos

AP News
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Posted: Jan 10, 2017 10:59 PM
Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team at Davos

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping's delegation to next week's World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos is open to meeting with President-elect Donald Trump's team, an official said Wednesday.

Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong told reporters at a briefing that "there are open channels of communication" with Trump's team.

Bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the annual gathering of business leaders, politicians and cultural icons are still being finalized, but China would look into what sort of arrangements could be made "as long as the schedule permits and if there is the wish," he said.

Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and threatened punishing tariffs and upended diplomatic protocol by speaking by phone with the president of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

As part of an official visit to Switzerland, Xi will open the annual economic meeting in Davos on Jan. 17, accompanied by the largest delegation of officials from China since the world's most populous country first participated at the forum nearly four decades ago.

Xi will be the first Chinese president to attend the meeting, and is leading the Chinese delegation instead of Premier Li Keqiang, who had previously participated as the chief custodian of China's massive economy.

China has sought to be more influential globally and present itself as a force for stability and champion of globalization while opposing rising protectionist sentiment in the West. The Davos forum takes place during a week when the United States, the world's largest economy, will be focused on Donald Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration as president.