Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said Thursday he hoped President-elect Donald Trump would maintain strong economic ties between the two nations, despite Trump's tough campaign rhetoric.
"I want to emphasize that long-standing economic cooperation between China and the U.S, particularly in the economic areas, this cooperation has yielded win-win benefits for the Chinese people and American people," Shi said through a translator. "I think these facts should be recognized by the president-elect and also by the people of the two countries."
Shi made the remarks at a joint news conference in London with his U.K. counterpart Phillip Hammond. He dismissed Trump's May 2 statement that China was trying to "rape" the U.S. through its economic practices, saying he believed this was merely campaign language. Shi emphasized the historic importance of a positive relationship between the world's two largest economies.
China was often the target of Trump's campaign hyperbole. He has accused the country of dishonest and opportunist economic practices, such as currency manipulation. He's also blamed China for taking millions of U.S. jobs and has threatened to impose a tariff on trade. He once suggested in 2012 that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government to influence the production of U.S. goods.
Despite Trump's campaign attacks, Chinese leaders appeared optimistic about a Trump presidency. Chinese President Xi Jinping called the president-elect Wednesday following his electoral victory to congratulate him and urged him to "uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation."
China is the U.S.'s largest goods trading partner, with $598 billion going both ways in 2015. It also possesses the world's largest military force. President Barack Obama attempted to perform an "Asia pivot" from conflicts in the Middle East to interests in the Asian Pacific, particularly to check Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. Trump has not yet put forth a foreign policy for the region and has espoused both interventionist and noninterventionist views.