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President Trump seeks 'constructive relationship' with China

US President Donald Trump said he wanted to "develop a constructive relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The statement comes just before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with Trump.

US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, saying he looked forward to working "to develop a constructive relationship" that benefits both countries, according to the White House.

The letter also thanked Xi for his note on Trump's inauguration and wished the Chinese a prosperous Year of the Rooster, said a statement from the White House.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment on the letter. The Foreign Ministry said last week the two countries were "in close touch." Xi and Trump have yet to speak directly since Trump assumed office in January, but Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi told US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn last week that he hoped the US and China could control disputes.

Trump previously provoked China after winning the presidential election in November by exchanging a phone call with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, the first official contact the US made with Taiwan since cutting diplomatic relations in 1979 in favor of the "One China" policy.

Abe coming to Washington

USA Treffen Donald Trump und Shinzo Abe (picture-alliance/dpa/Cabinet Public Relations Office/Ho)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l) will meet with US President Donald Trump (r) this week for the first time with Trump as president.

The letter comes just before Trump is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe starting on Friday, to discuss trade, security, and economic issues, according to a Japanese official planning the meeting.

"In a situation in which security relations in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly severe, it is very important to demonstrate the unshakable US-Japan alliance at home and abroad," said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Suga added the discussions were important to develop a "win-win" relationship between the two countries to strengthen economic ties.

Trump previously met with Abe in November, just after winning the presidential election. Trump has said Japan, China and Mexico were major contributors to the US trade deficit. During his successful campaign, Trump also said Japan did not share enough of the cost of the US security umbrella. US Defense Secretary James Mattis told Japan their alliance was firm, when he traveled to the country last week.

kbd/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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