US hopes top-tier talks will improve China ties

08:18, March 03, 2010      

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The United States said Tuesday it expected more top-level dialogue with China in the coming months and voiced hope for cooperation in pressing Iran on its nascent nuclear program.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that China has proposed to the United States a date for the next round of "Strategic and Economic Dialogue," which last year involved Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice Premier Wang Qishan of China.

"Yes," Crowley told reporters when asked if the dialogue was likely to occur in the next few months. "Sooner rather than later," he said.

In July Clinton and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner led the US side in the inaugural version of the talks, which aim to tackle a broad range of issues between the world's largest developed and developing countries.

The two countries decided at the time that the next round of talks would take place in Beijing in 2010 between "special representatives" of President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao.

Relations between the United States and China have been shaken in recent weeks by a series of disputes including U.S. weapons sale to Taiwan, Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, trade disputes and other issues.

But Clinton's deputy, James Steinberg, and Jeffrey Bader, Obama's top aide on Asia, are in Beijing this week for talks, which have raised hopes in Washington that relations with China will persevere through a rough patch, according to an AFP report on Tuesday.

"If this suggests that we are refocusing on the future and the important issues that we can work on together, I think we are encouraged by this," Crowley, the spokesman, said.

"This is expressly why we sought this meeting -- to be able to refocus on very specific issues, not the least of which is obviously our joint concerns about Iran," Crowley said.

People's Daily Online / Agencies
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