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US diplomat says China ties a priority

By Chen Weihua  (China Daily)

08:20, July 24, 2013

Assistant US Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Russel, who took office a week ago, says building a better relationship with China is one of the three pillars of his country’s policy in the Asia-Pacific region. Chen Weihua / China daily

Washington places a premium on building cooperative partnership

The new top US diplomat for East Asia reaffirmed that building a better relationship with China is one of the three pillars of his country's policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Daniel Russel, who became assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs a week ago, said the other two pillars are modernizing the five treaty alliances the US has in the region — with Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines — and participating in building regional institutions such as the East Asia Summit and Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"The United States has placed a premium on trying to build a cooperative partnership with China through direct and high-level dialogue," Russel said on Monday during his first news briefing in the job.

He said he has been involved throughout his career with improving the "hugely consequential relationship" with China, especially in the past few years, as special assistant to the president, and the National Security Council's senior director for Asian affairs.

"This is an ongoing project. It continues and will continue," said the career diplomat.

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