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Core interests at heart of new US ties

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

08:26, March 20, 2013

President Xi Jinping meets US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

President Xi Jinping told US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Beijing on Tuesday that he wants to build a new type of relationship with Washington centered on core interests.

It was Xi's first major international meeting since taking office on Thursday. It was also the first high-level Sino-US contact since former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Beijing in September.

Xi's emphasis on "core interests" clarified the bottom line regarding Beijing's ties with Washington in a polite yet firm way, analysts said.

Lew's China visit, to be followed by other high-ranking US officials, demonstrates that Washington has expectations of the new Chinese administration, they said.

"I attach great importance to China's relationship with the United States," Xi told Lew, who took office last month.

Chinese and US diplomats and financial officials, including new Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, who was appointed just days ago, attended the meeting.

"In the China-US relationship we have enormous shared interests, but of course, unavoidably, we have some differences," Xi said.

According to a news release the Foreign Ministry issued after the talks, Xi said China stood ready to work with the US to "respect and take care of each other's core interests and major concerns and properly handle differences".

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