China's foreign minister on Thursday warned that ties with the U.S. will likely see new complications and that the only way to maintain a stable relationship is by respecting each other's "core interests.''
Foreign Minister Wang Yi's remarks appeared to underscore that China's position on Taiwan is nonnegotiable, weeks after President-elect Donald Trump suggested that he could re-evaluate U.S. policy on the status of Taiwan.
Wang told the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, he will strive to boost cooperation with the U.S. but foresaw "new, complicated and uncertain factors affecting bilateral relations'' under the Trump administration.
China complained after Trump this month questioned a U.S. policy that since 1979 has recognized Beijing as China's government and maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan.
The president-elect's comments on Taiwan, combined with accusations that China is manipulating its currency and threats of imposing hefty tariffs against Chinese imports, have rattled relations between the world's two largest economies.
Trump's transition team announced Wednesday that Peter Navarro, a University of California, Irvine, economist who has accused China of effectively waging economic war against the United States, would head a trade policy council inside the White House.
Still, U.S.-China relations are generally trending toward stable cooperation and mutual benefit, Wang said. He quoted a Chinese poem — previously used by President Xi Jinping as a metaphor for U.S.-China ties — depicting a river that flows inevitably, regardless of mountainous obstacles.
Beijing regards the self-governing island as part of China. It has long used the "core interest'' formulation to signal that its position on Taiwan will be upheld under any circumstances and any move by Taiwan toward formal independence could be met with military force.