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China's Hu extols 'progress' in US ties

Clinton backs stronger EU, shared NATO partnership
Washington (AFP) Sept 8, 2010 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Wednesday for a stronger European Union while also urging NATO members to share in the alliance's responsibilities. In a speech to foreign policy experts, Clinton said she and US President Barack Obama have reached out to European allies to "strengthen both our bilateral and multilateral ties" while tackling a range of global challenges. She told the gathering at the Council on Foreign Relations that Washington will have to adjust to "influential new players" like the EU parliament after the EU-reforming Lisbon Treaty.

"But these are debates among friends that will always be secondary to the fundamental interests and values we share. And there is no doubt that a stronger EU is good for America and good for the world," Clinton said. The chief US diplomat also praised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the "world's most successful alliance." She recalled its contribution to stabilizing war-torn Afghanistan, while alluding to the withdrawal of troops by some member countries and refusal of others to deploy in areas where there is combat. "A core principle of all of our alliances is shared responsibility. Each nation must step up to do its part. And American leadership does not mean we do everything ourselves," Clinton said. "We contribute our share -- often the largest share -- but we also have high expectations of the governments and peoples we work with," she said.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 8, 2010
President Hu Jintao on Wednesday extolled "fresh progress" in China-US ties as he met a White House delegation that held talks here on thorny issues including North Korea, Iran and trade.

"China looks positively on the fresh progress made in China-US relations, and we are willing to work together with the United States in promoting the advance of healthy and stable China-US relations," Hu said.

His comments came in a meeting with visiting US Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers.

The two US officials concluded three days of talks during which they met various leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Wang Qishan, China's senior official on economic matters.

A statement released by the US National Security Council said the two sides held "candid" discussions on the North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues, and global trade. No other details have been released.

Both sides have hailed the state of bilateral ties following tensions earlier this year but also alluded to continuing differences of opinion.

While pledging cooperation, the US statement said Washington "will speak frankly and with respect when we disagree."

On Tuesday, Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo told the visiting Americans "quiet and in-depth dialogue is better than loud haranguing."

However, Hu told the US visitors bilateral cooperation had "constantly expanded and deepened" on a range of issues.

The US delegation's visit was the latest sign that the world's top two economies are putting months of tension -- over everything from trade to Taiwan to Tibet -- behind them as they prepare for a visit to the United States by Hu.

Relations soured this year over an array of issues including US arms sales to Taiwan and a meeting in February between President Barack Obama and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The two sides have also been involved in various trade disputes, including over China's currency policies.

Foreign critics claim China undervalues its yuan currency, giving Chinese exporters an unfair trade advantage.

But the tensions have eased considerably in recent months following several high-level meetings between the two sides, including between Hu and Obama, who has invited the Chinese leader to visit Washington at an unspecified time.

The Chinese officials who met with the US group included central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, Finance Minister Xie Xuren and one of the country's top military officials, General Xu Caihou.

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India says China seeking 'foothold' in S.Asia
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 7, 2010
China is seeking to expand its influence in South Asia and gain a "foothold" in the region, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in remarks published Tuesday. "China would like to have a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality," Singh was quoted as saying by The Times of India on Tuesday. "We have to be aware of this." Following recent meetings with the Chinese ... read more

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