Despite differences over some issues between the United States and China which often spill out in the public, neither of the two countries can "afford to walk away from the other", the White House has said.
"I don't think that either country can afford to simply walk away from the other. That's not what we would do, and I don't think that's what anybody expects them to do either," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told journalists on Monday.
Responding to questions about the Chinese reaction after the Obama administration decided to sell arms worth billions to Taiwan, Gibbs said the issue had been discussed with the top Chinese leaders when President Barack Obama visited Beijing in November.
"We discussed many of the things. We discussed each and every aspect of our relationship with China when we met in November, including arms sales to Taiwan," Gibbs said.
"We have always said that we want the type of relationship where we're working together on important issues of mutual concern -- the global economic recovery, our concerns about proliferation -- but when we have disagreements, we'll do so -- we'll voice those disagreements out in the open in public.
I think that's the type of relationship we've had with China during this administration and one that we'll continue to have," he said.When referred to the Chinese threat that would impose sanctions on US companies, Gibbs said: "That would be warranted," and added, "we want to work on issues of mutual concern."