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Keen to develop positive ties with China: Obama

March 30, 2010 13:11 IST

Amidst a war of words with Beijing on issues like Google, Taiwan and the Dalai Lama, US President Barack Obama has expressed his determination to develop a positive relationship with China.

Welcoming the new Chinese Ambassador Zahng Yesui at the White House, Obama stressed that Washington and Beijing must "work together with the international community on critical global issues including non-proliferation and pursuing sustained and balanced global growth", a statement released by the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"During the meeting the president stated his determination to further develop a positive relationship with China," the statement said.

Obama's comments were welcomed by Beijing as the two powers are seeking to overcome deep strains in their ties.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing Qin Gang while acknowledging the recent difficulties said, "These were not in the interest of the two countries."

Ties between China and US have come under heavy strain recently over a number of issues including the value of Yuan, arms sale to Taiwan, internet freedom and a visit to the White House by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

"A good Sino-US relationship is in the fundamental interest of the two countries and their people, and is beneficial to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world," Qin said.

Obama's warm comments on China also come as the next round of high level Sino-US strategic and economic talks are expected to be held in Beijing in late May.

Meanwhile, talking to a group of foreign correspondents, US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said it's fair to say that for the first 15 months of the new administration here the US-China relations have been extremely constructive.

"We avoided the dangers of transition that often happen in our relations with China and were able to start a very stable and promising course on our relationships, beginning with a phone call between President Hu and President Obama in February of last year, their meeting in London at the G-20 in April and culminating in President Obama's visit to China last fall," he said.

"Now, I know in recent months there's been speculation about whether there's been a change in that relationship: the Chinese response to our arms sales to Taiwan, to the issue of Tibet and Google, as well as our concerns about China's economic and trade policy and military modernisation," said Steinberg, who was recently in China.

The China trip, he said was an opportunity to put these issues in perspective and to discuss with his Chinese counterpart how to build on the strong dialogue to seize the opportunities and the need for them to work together, as well as to manage their differences.

"US seeks a relationship with China marked by a positive and pragmatic cooperation in which we expand our areas of mutual interest while candidly addressing our differences. That relationship, our bilateral relationship with China, rests on a long-standing and firm foundation pursued by Democratic and Republican administrations alike since Nixon, Carter and Reagan," Steinberg said.

However, there has been no change in US policy on China, he argued. "On Tibet, we reaffirmed our position that we do consider Tibet to be a part of the People Republic of China and do not support independence for Tibet, but we strongly support continued dialogue between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve the differences," he said.

"On security issues, we stressed the desirability of intensified dialogue to address our concerns about China's military modernisation and to provide reassurance about China's plans and intentions.

"We also stressed the need to continue our work together to get the DPRK (North Korea) back to our six-party talks and to move forward promptly to give life to the dual-track

strategy vis-a-vis Iran and its nuclear programme," he said.
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