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US And China Hold New Strategic Talks

Washington has no lack of questions to take up with the Asian communist giant, which Zoellick says has provoked a "cauldron of anxiety" within the United States over its growing power and intentions. AFP photo.

Washington (AFP) Dec 07, 2005
Senior US and Chinese officials opened a new round of strategic talks here Wednesday amid concern among Washington and its allies over Beijing's growing military and economic clout.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo sat down for the first of two days of discussions on a broad range of bilateral, Asian and global issues.

US officials said the sessions, following up on the inaugural strategic talks launched in August in Beijing, were devoted to broad, long-term talks and not aimed at producing immediate diplomatic breakthroughs.

Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said that efforts to rein in the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran would come up as well as other issues involving China and the United States.

"There's not going to be a unanimity of views here," he said. "But the purpose of the dialogue is to flesh out how we see each other acting within an international system."

Washington has no lack of questions to take up with the Asian communist giant, which Zoellick says has provoked a "cauldron of anxiety" within the United States over its growing power and intentions.

"Many countries hope China will pursue a 'peaceful rise,' but none will bet their future on it," the number two State Department official said in a speech on September 21 to the National Committee on US-China Relations.

The speech, described by US officials as close to a blueprint for relations with Beijing, urged China to show greater transparency about its rapid military buildup, doctrines and exercises.

Zoellick said that China had to become a "stakeholder" in the international system and reassure countries worried by its market-controlling policies, rampant piracy and currency manipulation.

He also said China's ties with unnamed "troublesome states" were suspect, and accused Beijing of acting as if it could lock up energy supplies around the world instead of working with others to develop diverse sources.

The United States has come a long way in its view of China since the early days of the administration of US President George W. Bush when it considered Beijing a "strategic competitor".

But despite lucrative trade ties, the relationship has been strained over the question of Taiwan, which Beijing insists is part of China even if the island has enjoyed some 60 years of de facto independent rule.

A series of developments in the runup to this week's strategic talks provided ample testimony to the wide variety of fronts that pit the Western superpower against its potential Asian rival.

-- Last week the US Treasury stopped short of labeling China as a currency manipulator, but said in a report that Beijing must take additional steps to revalue the yuan to avoid the label in the future.

-- A report by the Council on Foreign Relations unveiled Monday found China was challenging US interests and values in Africa, shielding "rogue states," harming the environment and thwarting anti-corruption drives.

-- On Tuesday, China bluntly told the United States to stay out of Hong Kong's affairs, rejecting US calls for Beijing to quickly set up a timetable for full democracy in the territory following weekend protests.

The State Department official said this week's talks would cover a broad gamut of issues and geographic areas.

"It's not going to be solely Asia. It'll be a bilateral discussion, it'll be a regional discussion and it'll be a global discussion," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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India And Russia Sign Major Defense Agreements
Moscow (SPX) Dec 07, 2005
Cementing their strategic partnership, India and Russia today signed three agreements, including one on protection of intellectual property rights to regulate joint defence work, reports PTI.

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