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We share many areas of common interest with China: US

February 05, 2010 09:03 IST

Amid increasing tension between the United States and China over the arms sale to Taiwan and US president Barack Obama's upcoming meeting with the Dalai Lama, the US appeared to be adopting a conciliatory approach saying that it has many areas of common interest with the communist country.

The Obama Administration envisions US-China relationship as one where the two countries can work together on issues of mutual concern, the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Thursday.

"We've worked together on stabilising the world economy. We've worked together on issues of proliferation, particularly around North Korea," he said.

"I think it's safe to assume that only through the important cooperation that we received with the Chinese that we were able to get some very strict sanctions through the United Nations Security Council on a unanimous vote several months ago based on the actions the North Koreans had taken late last spring," Gibbs said.

At the same time there will be differences between the two, Gibbs noted.

"There will be issues that we will disagree on, and we will disagree on them both in private and in public," he said.

Gibbs denied that China is playing the role of an obstructionist.

At the same time he said there are issues that are of mutual concern.

"And then there are issues that are of great concern to each of the individual countries," he noted.

"A nuclear Iran is not in the interests of American government or Chinese government.

"An arms race in the Middle East is not a good thing for us or for them. A worldwide arms race, and the destabilising nature that that could have throughout the world, is not a good thing for the American government or for the Chinese government," Gibbs argued.

"I think that the Chinese will continue to work with us on the important next steps that we have to take relating to Iran because it's not just in our interest or in other's interests, it's quite clearly in their interest as well," he said.

The state department too refuted reports that there is any tension with China.

"I don't think the evidence supports that. In our relationship with China, we have many areas of mutual interest. North Korea is significant among them," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

Crowley said China has a great stake in what happens with respect to Iran.

"China is tied to the global economy; it's tied to global energy markets. And an arms race in the Middle East has the potential to disrupt oil markets and have a decided impact on China just as the major economies like the United States.

So we think we have the same stake in the outcome," he said.

"We are talking with China about the appropriate steps to take now and we are continuing to discuss potential sanctions and we'll continue these discussions in the coming weeks," he said.

Refuting media reports, Crowley said China and the US are on the same page with regard to Iran.

"China has supported the current dual-track approach that we take. They've signed on to every communiqué that has been issued in recent months describing the fact that we would prefer a negotiated settlement, but we are prepared as well to take steps to put pressure on Iran to help them recognise that they will pay a cost for their continued pursuit of their nuclear program and while ignoring the valid concerns of the international community," he said.

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