CHINA - Economic ties are a "ballast" for overall China-US relations, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, despite recent maritime tensions between the two navies.
The premier hoped the countries, the world's largest economies, can properly handle differences, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and look at the bigger picture and long-term perspective.
Mutual interests have outweighed differences since diplomatic relations resumed 35 years ago, Li said.
"We should seize the opportunity, explore the potential for cooperation and promote a healthy and stable Sino-US relationship," he said as he met the US delegation for the 24th Session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Beijing on Thursday.
His remarks came after a recent incident at sea.
Media reported the US missile cruiser Cowpens broke into the Chinese navy's drilling waters in the South China Sea on Dec 5, despite warnings from China's aircraft carrier task group, and the US cruiser almost collided with a Chinese warship nearby.
China's Defence Ministry said it has had effective communication with its US counterparts about the near miss, while US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that the incident will not influence Sino-US ties.
At Thursday's meeting, Li said he looks forward to a "pragmatic and candid" talk.
"Bilateral trade was barely several billion dollars 30 years ago, but today the trade volume stands at around several hundred billion dollars. The number has exceeded the expectations of many people," Li said.