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Politics

US, China set to begin wary diplomacy on G-20 sidelines

Wang, Tillerson to talk economics, maritime advances at first official meeting

OKI NAGAI, Nikkei staff writer | China

BEIJING -- China and the U.S. will wade gingerly into bilateral diplomacy this week as Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meet for the first time on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting in Germany.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently paved the way for full-scale diplomacy when he told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would respect the long-standing "one China" policy, under which the U.S. recognizes Taiwan and mainland China as part of the same country.

For its part, China has repeatedly signaled its willingness to cooperate toward resolving problems.

But Beijing and Washington are deeply divided over the former's maritime advances in the South China and East China seas. Japan has expressed its wariness of China to the U.S., and the Trump administration has stood firm with Tokyo.

The U.S. and China also face turbulent economic relations, given Trump's campaign promises to slap high tariffs on Chinese products.

The diplomats are expected to discuss all these issues at their first meeting, but some in China have taken a hard line against the U.S. A Communist Party-linked outlet suggested that unnecessary conflict could be avoided if Trump were to change his positions. For now, the country plans to communicate through diplomatic channels to seek a deeper grasp of Washington's stance.

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