US, China seek progress to ease tensions

Updated: 2007-05-22 21:34

WASHINGTON - The United States and China sought to ease growing trade tensions during two days of high-level talks. Breakthroughs are expected in the areas of boosting sales of American energy technology and banking services in China.

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday that the issue of food safety, highlighted by the deaths of pets after eating pet food contaminated with a Chinese-made ingredient, would also be addressed during the second round of talks that feature a large number of Cabinet officials from both nations.

Opening the discussions in an ornate government auditorium decked out with flags from both nations, Paulson called the event historic because of the number of Cabinet officials from both sides who were participating.

"Never before have so many ministers from China gathered in one place in the United States. ... We both realize how critical it is for our countries that we get our long-term economic relationship right," Paulson said.

He said it was important for the two countries to work towad "near-term agreements that build confidence on both sides."

Chinese officials, meanwhile, appealed to the administration to help ease growing trade tensions.

China hopes the two sides can "effectively solve the frictions and problems cropping up ... so as to ensure steady and smooth development of relations between the two nations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said in Beijing.

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