Beijing and Washington have extended olive branches to each other after months of bickering, with Beijing yesterday welcoming US President Barack Obama's pledge to develop a positive relationship with China. With a high-level Sino-US dialogue scheduled for May and mystery over who will represent China at next month's nuclear summit in Washington, analysts said the remarks from both sides were attempts to clear the air for the high-level exchanges. Obama urged a better relationship yesterday after he received credentials from Zhang Yesui , the new Chinese ambassador to the US, at the While House. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama reaffirmed the one-China policy and support for efforts made by Beijing and Taipei to reduce friction across the Taiwan Strait. 'During their meeting, the president stated his determination to further develop a positive relationship with China,' Gibbs said. Obama 'also stressed the need for the United States and China to work together and with the international community on critical global issues including nonproliferation and pursuing sustained and balanced global growth', he said. US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg also reassured Beijing of Washington's support for the one-China policy at a press briefing yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its website. Beijing reacted immediately, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang saying in a statement released yesterday morning that China appreciated Obama and Steinberg's 'positive attitudes' in improving Sino-US relations. 'Not long ago, Sino-US relations were bothered by some unnecessary disturbances, and they did not suit both sides' interest,' Qin said. 'China hopes both sides can carry out the consensus reached by their leaders, abide by the principles of three Sino-US joint declarations, enhance dialogue and exchanges, expand mutual trust and co-operation, and properly handle sensitive issues.' Relations between the two powers hit a rough patch at the start of this year, with Washington irritating Beijing with two rounds of arms sales to Taiwan and Obama's meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House. Search giant Google also triggered bickering on internet freedom between the two governments when the US company said in January that it would withdraw from the mainland market because of censorship. Google shut down its mainland search site last week and rerouted searches to its Hong Kong website. Beijing retaliated against the arms sales by suspending military exchanges. It also threatened to impose sanctions on companies involved in the sales but has yet to implement any. A human rights dialogue, originally scheduled for February, did not take place. Mainland academics had warned that if tensions kept building up, President Hu Jintao's state visit, which was agreed during Obama's trip to Beijing last year, would be postponed or cancelled. All eyes are now on who China will send to a nuclear security summit called by Obama for April 12 and 13. China is under pressure from Washington and other Western powers to support further sanctions against Tehran over Iran's nuclear programmes but Beijing has been reluctant and has called for diplomatic negotiations instead. Pang Zhongying , an international relations professor at Renmin University, said Obama used the opportunity of receiving Zhang to signal a new phase in Sino-US ties. 'Both sides are also paving the way for possible high-level exchanges. It could signal that China is willing to send Hu to the nuclear summit,' Pang said. But he also said the remarks failed to address the more pressing issues that were still bothering Sino-US relations - Iran and the value of the Chinese currency. 'These are rather general remarks that serve as gestures of goodwill.'