Fri, Jan 09, 2009 - Page 5 News List

US, PRC must work closely: Negroponte

AP , BEIJING

Economic and political ties between China and the US built over three decades “make it essential” that the countries work closely to meet international challenges, a senior US diplomat said yesterday.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said at a news conference at the US Embassy in Beijing that the deepening ties reinforced “a view that we are increasingly interdependent. That requires we conduct the relationship on a very mature basis and that’s what we sought to do.”

Negroponte is in China on a two-day visit to help commemorate 30 years of diplomatic ties between the countries as well as represent the US President George W. Bush’s administration’s farewell.

Negroponte, who has held talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) and other senior Chinese leaders, said he believes the Bush administration has left a strong record on US-China ties, citing major cooperation on security issues including the denuclearization issue on the Korean peninsula as well as booming trade and economic dialogue as examples.

“Our two presidents established very close personal relationships. They met quite frequently ... They’ve had extensive telephone contact and communication,” he said.

The two main areas of focus for the bilateral relationship in the future will be regional and global security issues as well as the ongoing financial crisis, he said.

Negroponte said he plans to go back to Washington with a message from his hosts that China is ready and eager to talk with the new administration of US president-elect Barack Obama.

“The one message that I take away from this visit is that ... the government of the People’s Republic of China certainly looks forward to working closely with the next administration and my sense is that it is eager to undertake dialogue with our new government as soon as possible,” he said.

Washington and Beijing established formal ties on Jan. 1, 1979, eight years after the administration of former US president Richard Nixon initiated a Cold War alliance against the Soviet Union.

As part of that process, Washington cut diplomatic ties with Beijing’s rival Taiwan, although it continues to maintain close informal relations with the self-governing nation, providing it with armaments to counter Chinese threats. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory and countries must choose which capital to recognize.

Negroponte is standing in for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was originally scheduled to attend but stayed in Washington to monitor the Gaza crisis.

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