Page last updated at 03:44 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 04:44 UK

Clinton stresses key China goals

Hilary Clinton said they were 'entering a new era in China US relations'

China and the US will open a dialogue on counter-terrorism issues this year, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

She said the two powers must cooperate closely on a wide range of topics.

The head of China's Congress, Wu Bangguo is visiting Washington, where he has met US President Barack Obama and called for closer economic ties.

Mrs Clinton has previously stressed her desire for close ties and talks with China despite US concerns about rights.

Speaking at a dinner hosted to welcome Mr Wu, Mrs Clinton said that building a strong relationship with China was a central goal of the Obama government.


She avoided topics such as US complaints on Chinese trade and human rights practices, focusing instead on the need for better communication and trust.

She said the countries must cooperate on nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran, climate change, non-proliferation, pandemic diseases and poverty reduction.

"I am pleased to announce that the United States and China will be conducting joint talks on counterterrorism this fall," she said at a business forum attended by Mr Wu.

Chinese officers in Qingdao
Chinese and US ships have confronted each other in the South China Sea

Reporters quoted regional diplomats saying such talks could be the first institutionalised dialogue with China on counterterrorism.

President Obama's administration held its first revamped Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China in July, focusing on bilateral, regional and global challenges on economic and foreign policy issues, as well as climate change.


Mr Wu for his part was more focused on trade, saying he wanted to see the removal of what he called trade barriers protecting US industries from foreign competition.

He is the chairman of China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, a weak legislature guided by the Chinese Communist Party. He described his US trip as the first by a Congress leader in 20 years.

Stressing that China's growth is linked to that of the world, he warned the US to eschew "excuses to interfere in other countries' internal affairs or contain other countries' development."

"We should remove all forms of trade and investment barriers (and) properly handle economic and trade frictions and disputes between the two sides," Mr Wu said.

He said that China "could not achieve development in isolation from the rest of the world, and world prosperity and stability would not be possible without China."

The US has long held concerns about China's rights record, treatment of minorities, failure to protect intellectual copyright and much more.

It is particularly keen to secure China's assistance in persuading North Korea to return to negotiations over its nuclear programme.

On her first trip as secretary of state to China in February, Mrs Clinton called for a deeper US-China partnership.

Co-operation between the US and China on global issues such as the economy and climate change would take precedence over points of friction between the two governments, such as human rights and Tibet, she said.

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