Praise for progress but military and rights draw frowns A top American diplomat has presented a rosy overview of Washington-Beijing relations to a congressional commission, saying China's role in the world is largely positive. Thomas Christensen, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs with responsibility for China, Taiwan and Mongolia, said the US government's policy was to encourage China to be a 'responsible stakeholder' on the world stage. 'We're doing well and there's reason to be optimistic,' he testified on Thursday before the US - China Economic and Security Review Commission. 'The most positive example I can think of is co-operation with China on the North Korea issue.' Mr Christensen noted in particular Beijing's support for a recent UN Security Council resolution condemning Pyongyang for launching a series of missiles, and its constructive role in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme. 'I think this is extraordinary progress,' he said. China was also praised for its role in dealing with Iran's nuclear programme, its deployment of soldiers for the peacekeeping mission in Sudan and co-operation with Washington's 'war on terror'. But the US is less satisfied with human rights and democratisation, and with China's rapid military buildup. One commission member, Kerri Houston, an analyst with the think-tank Frontiers of Freedom, asked Mr Christensen about reports that PLA soldiers in the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon had deliberately helped Hezbollah and looked the other way as operatives dug tunnels for use in operations against Israel. 'I haven't seen those reports ... if true they'd be of great concern to the US,' he said. Mr Christensen said the US also was hoping to convince China that its strategy for ensuring access to resources - by attempting to get controlling equity in emerging oil, mineral and other resource ventures - was not productive, and Beijing should follow a model similar to that of the US. On trade, Mr Christensen said that, contrary to some reports, the US had not abandoned the idea of a free-trade agreement with Taiwan but was working towards a US-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement first.