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US Deputy Secretary Of State Zoellick In China For Strategic Dialogue

Robert Zoellick (AFP image)

Beijing (AFP) Jul 31, 2005
Deputy US Secretary of State Robert Zoellick arrived in the Chinese capital Beijing on Sunday to take part in a strategic dialogue between the two countries, state media reported.

The discussions that start Monday with Chinese counterparts from the Foreign Ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission will focus on China-US relations and other international and regional issues, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Zoellick later Sunday held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao on Sino-US relations and international issues of common concern, the foreign ministry said.

The dialogue will take place against the backdrop of ongoing six-party talks in Beijing aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

It was not clear whether Zoellick intends to discuss the North Korean issue with China.

Discussions are "intended to assess interests in an integrated fashion, consider points of mutual interest, and discuss how best to manage differences," acting US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said before Zoellick's departure.

The so-called "Senior Dialogue" was launched by Presidents George Bush and Hu Jintao at last year's APEC meeting in Chile.

Zoellick last week attended the annual meeting of the 24-member ASEAN Regional Forum on security issues. China also took part in the forum.

On Saturday he met Donald Tsang, Hong Kong's new chief executive, during a stopover in the Chinese territory.

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