The US and China are to expand their dialogue to cover counterterrorism, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, although Beijing cautioned against any interference in internal affairs.
“I am pleased to announce that the United States and China will be conducting joint talks on counterterrorism this fall,” Clinton said on Thursday at a business forum attended by China’s National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo (吳邦國), the second-most powerful man in the Chinese Communist Party after President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).
“Now, we will not see to eye to eye on every issue,” Clinton said. “We have different histories, different experiences, different perspectives, but we must seek to talk honestly and openly, even when agreement is not possible,” she said. “And we are committed to doing so.”
The talks disclosed by Clinton may be the first institutionalized dialogue with China on counterterrorism, regional diplomats said. Clinton did not provide details on particular issues to be discussed.
Wu, whose US visit is the first by any head of China’s powerful National People’s Congress in 20 years, made clear Beijing would rebuff any interference in China’s internal affairs.
“We believe that one should not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs or impose its own will on others,” he said, seeking respect for “each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He also said that Beijing was against any international support for “separatist forces” in Tibet or Taiwan.
“We are against the practice of using differences in perception as an excuse and freedom of religion and speech as a cover to support, or support in a disguised way, separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,’ ‘Tibet independence’ and other separatist agendas and meddle in China’s internal affairs,” Wu said.
Wu held talks with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday and met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi a day earlier, saying his visit had achieved “satisfactory results.”
Clinton said that the two countries had also agreed to hold the next round of a human rights dialogue before the end of the year and also reconvene a bilateral legal experts dialogue.