Expert says China-U.S.tensions temporarily relieved

18:59, March 03, 2010      

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Tensions between the United States and China will be temporarily eased as two senior U.S. officials visit Beijing with hopes of patching up ties, an expert said Tuesday.

"The United States sent two senior diplomats to China because it is reluctant to see U.S.-China rifts spiraling out of control," said Pei Minxin, a senior associate of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Except for the Iranian nuclear issue, the recent disputes between China and the United States will basically come to an end, Pei, who is also a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California, told Xinhua.

The visit "puts a comma to recent frictions between the two sides, but not a full stop," as disputes will continue to emerge, he said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Jeffrey Bader began their visit to Beijing on Tuesday and will stay there until Thursday before going to Japan.

The trip is mainly aimed at exchanging opinions with the Chinese side about the Iranian nuclear issue, and explaining the U.S. stance on such issues as selling weapons to Taiwan, President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama and the Google case, he said.

In recent weeks, the two nations mainly communicated with each other through the media, which might lead to speculation and misunderstandings, said the expert, adding that face-to-face, high-level exchanges would always be more direct and effective.

China and the United States could maintain their high-level contacts no matter what kind of differences and disputes they have, which shows that the relationship between the two countries is mature enough, Pei said.

The visit by senior U.S. officials may not be able to completely mend bilateral ties between the two countries, but at least it is a starting point, he said.

"I've said earlier in an article that the two countries will move to mend ties after having 'high decibel' disputes," he said.

"It is because the two nations share considerable common interests, and they won't allow disputes to seriously affect their ties," he added.

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