BEIJING — President-elect Donald Trump spoke over the phone Monday with the presidents of China and Russia to discuss future efforts to improve US relations with their countries, his transition office said.
Trump has called communist China a “currency manipulator,” threatened to impose stiff tariffs on Chinese imports, and accused the country of inventing the idea of climate change to hurt US businesses.
But in his first telephone conversation with President Xi Jinping of China, Trump appeared to set aside those critiques expressed on the campaign trail, vowing that the two nations would have “one of the strongest relationships,” Reuters reported.
Xi, in turn, told Trump “facts have shown that cooperation is the only correct choice” for the United States and China, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.
In the phone call that Trump made to Xi, the two men agreed to maintain close communications and to meet at an early date.
Despite the optimistic tone, analysts believe the relationship between Trump and Xi could grow tense if Trump follows through on his campaign promises, including a vow to impose a 45 percent tax on Chinese imports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump Monday to offer congratulations. Trump’s transition office said the president-elect “is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.’’
The Kremlin said Putin also expressed Russia’s readiness to ‘‘establish a partner-like dialogue with the new administration on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and noninterference in domestic relations,’’ the Associated Press reported.
‘‘During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues, and the historical US-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years,’’ it said.
In its statement on the phone call, the Kremlin added that both Putin and Trump agreed that the US-Russian ties are in ‘‘extremely unsatisfactory’’ condition now.
‘‘They spoke for active joint work to normalize ties and engage in constructive cooperation on a broad range of issues,’’ it said, adding that Putin and Trump emphasized the need to develop trade and economic cooperation to give a strong basis to US-Russia relations.
Putin and Trump also agreed on the need to combine efforts in the fight against their No. 1 enemy — ‘‘international terrorism and extremism’’ — and discussed the settlement of the Syrian crisis in that context, according to the Kremlin.
It said that Putin and Trump agreed to continue phone contacts and to plan a personal meeting in the future.
Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wants to be friends with Russia and join forces in the fight against the Islamic State, yet he outlined few specifics as to how he would go about it.
President Obama began his presidency with a goal to ‘‘reset’’ ties with Russia, but they eventually plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Throughout the campaign, the Kremlin insisted that it had no favorites and rejected the claims of interference in the US election.
Russia’s state-controlled media, however, made no secret of their sympathy for Trump.
In China, foreign policy experts appear to be nervous about the prospect of a trade war.
In an editorial on Sunday in Global Times, a newspaper known for its nationalistic views, said that trade would be “paralyzed” if Trump imposed the tariff he has touted.
The article threatened a “tit-for-tat” response, saying that sales of American cars, airplanes, iPhones, and soybeans would suffer and that China could limit the number of students who go to the United States to study.
“Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good,” the editorial said. “Trump, as a shrewd businessman, will not be so naive.”
Trump is a longtime critic of US trade policies with Asian countries, and his pledge to rethink security commitments in Japan and South Korea has created uncertainty in the region.
China, as a rising superpower, sees both benefits and potential dangers in Trump’s leadership. Some analysts believe his focus on domestic issues might allow China to exert more influence in Asia and the Pacific.
Others worry that he may abandon international agreements, such as a landmark accord on climate change reached last year.
Li Yonghui, dean of the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said in an interview that Trump’s emphasis on domestic affairs might help ease tensions between the two countries.
But he added that Chinese leaders needed to prepare for the possibility that Trump might increase pressure on Beijing, for example, by imposing more restrictions on trade.
“He’s very different from the Obama administration when it comes to issues like trade and economics,” Li said. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty.”