Washington - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played down concerns over
the rising influence of China, saying it was better for China to have friends in
the world than enemies.
Chinese President Hu
Jintao (R) meets US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Great Hall
of the People in Beijing, October 20, 2006.
"I don't see any of this as zero sum," Rice told the Singapore Straits Times
newspaper in an interview, a transcript of which was released by the US State
Department on Thursday.
responding to a question on China's growing power and relations with nations
from Asia to Africa, notably following a summit of 48 African leaders in Beijing
last week that highlighted the China's deepening economic and political ties
with the continent.
"I'd like to have China have friends in the world, it's better than having
China have enemies in the world," said Rice.
"There have been times when we worried about the opposite -- that China would
be a destabilizing factor in the world," she said.
"So I would rather see a China that is trying to reach out, that's trying to
have friendships around the world."
Rice visited Beijing two weeks ago and praised the Chinese for their leading
role in bringing North Korea back to multilateral negotiations aimed at
getting Pyongyang to give up its newly proven nuclear arsenal.
"We have excellent relations with China," she said.
However, 10 days ahead of an Asian summit at which US President George W.
Bush will meet his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, Rice also mentioned that
Washington still harbored concerns about China's role.
"China has to be
responsible in its engagement with the world because it is a big power, it's not
just a developing country," she said.