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President Xi Jinping meets John Kerry, says Sino-US relations solid

Chinese president tells US secretary of state that both nations should respect each others' core interests and choice of development path

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 6:16am
 

Top Chinese leaders yesterday urged the United States to settle its differences with Beijing on the basis of mutual respect, after declaring Sino-US relations solid during meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Xi Jinping said the relationship between the two countries was "at a new phase and on a good footing" when receiving Kerry, who is making his first official trip to China since taking up his post in February.

"These meetings reflect the great importance both China and the US place on bilateral ties," Xi told Kerry. "Both nations should respect each others' core interests and choice of development path, to properly settle differences and avoid any disturbance to bilateral ties."

Xi acknowledged differences between the world's biggest and second-largest economies. He called on both sides to "accommodate" each other and show "mutual respect".

In a separate meeting, Premier Li Keqiang toldKerry that the mutual benefits of co-operation "far outweigh" their differences.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew visited Beijing as a special representative of US President Barack Obama less than a week after Xi took power.

Kerry said yesterday that both sides had agreed to set up a working group to improve cybersecurity.

Beijing is dismayed at Washington's "Asia pivot", which involves a military build-up that some view as an effort to contain China's rise. Sino-US ties are routinely strained by other issues, too, from human rights to trade policies and cyberattacks.

In February, a private US-based internet security firm, Mandiant, published a report alleging People's Liberation Army involvement in cyberattacks on US companies. The accusations drew angry denials from Beijing.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry that both sides must remain calm and objective when dealing with cyberspace disputes.

After the talks, the two sides released a joint declaration on climate change.

Analysts said Sino-US ties had improved because Obama passed up an opportunity during a recent Washington trip by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to voice support for Japan's stance in East China Sea territory disputes. Others said Beijing would remain suspicious of US moves in Asia.

"Rather than play tough and force Asian countries to give way, Washington should respect the region's interests and pursue win-win co-operation," a Xinhua commentary said yesterday.

Professor Wang Fan , from Beijing Foreign Affairs University, said conflict may arise because China aims to become a maritime power in the Pacific.

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