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President and Premier meet with US Secretary of State, looking for cooperation and stability.
Beijing said on Saturday that increased provocation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region would serve nobody's interests, as the country's top leaders met high-level US diplomats.
Analysts said the visit is intended to update views on key regional issues between the two countries' new leaderships, while it is hoped tangible progress can be achieved in terms of cooperation and strategic mutual trust.
President Xi Jinping talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Beijing on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua]
"All sides must bear responsibility for maintaining regional peace and stability and take the consequences," Li told Kerry.
Sowing the seeds of discord on the peninsula and in the region is like shooting oneself in the foot, Li was quoted as saying in a foreign ministry press release.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his meeting with Kerry, also called for denuclearization, plus peace and dialogue on the Korean Peninsula issue.
Tension has soared on the peninsula since the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Feb 12, in protest against joint military drills between the Republic of Korea and the US.
Pyongyang declared "a state of war" with Seoul and threatened to launch a nuclear strike in self-defense.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said Beijing hopes Washington will not further intimidate Pyongyang.
"Otherwise, further vicious interactions will be sparked, and the odds will grow of a miscalculation between Beijing and Washington," Shi warned.
"There are short term issues, with the DPRK situation being most prominent, but the long term relationship between China and the United States is more important," said Bob Berring, a law professor at Berkeley University.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew paid a visit to China in March, while Kerry is the second US cabinet member Xi has met since becoming president in March. Kerry's meetings with the Chinese president and premier both went on longer than expected.
Tao Wenzhao, a senior researcher on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said working level contacts between the two new leaderships will "help deepen mutual trust and avoid misjudgment".
Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the Sino-US strategic and economic dialogue mechanism will continue, and the upcoming round of talks "require a lot of work beforehand".
Kerry's trip will help nail down the agenda, with "cooperation and coordination still the top priority for Sino-US relations," Ruan said.
While meeting with Kerry, Xi said both sides should work on developing positive interactions in the Asia-Pacific region and "enhance communication and coordination" on regional and international issues, as there is "enough space between the coasts of the Pacific Ocean" for the two powers.
Xi said the two countries differ on some issues, but they should respect each other's core interests and paths of development. Both sides should "properly handle disputes and contradictions" to avoid problems with bilateral ties, Xi said.
Li added that ties between the countries have developed for more than 40 years and demonstrate the two country's shared interests far outweigh their differences, while their reciprocal areas of concern will deepen further.
Economy and trade ties were also a highlight of Saturday's bilateral meetings.
The premier said Beijing hopes Washington will lift limits on the export of hi-tech products to China, and both sides should do more to promote equality for business competition and protect rights and interests.
Xi urged both sides to boost cooperation and "tighten the bond of interests".
Measures should be taken to resolve the concerns of each side, and economic and trade issues "cannot be politicized", Xi said.
Kerry said the world is undergoing major changes and Washington considers US-China ties to be on a strategic level.
Bonnie S. Glaser, senior advisor for Asia, Freeman Chair in China Studies of Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the biggest challenge in bilateral relations is "managing differences".
If Kerry "can truly convey a genuine desire to cooperate and work with China rather than as an adversary, then he stands a chance of strengthening bilateral relations", said George Koo, international business consultant and board member of New America Media.
The talks on Saturday ended up being fruitful.
During the meeting between Li and Kerry, the two sides agreed to issue a joint statement on climate change, and announced the two countries will set up a climate change workforce, under the framework of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
China and the United States should also conduct a dialogue on cyberspace, in a calm and objective fashion, Wang said.
Beijing and Washington have been trading accusations in recent months of massive cyber intrusions. While the US says hacking attacks from China have targeted US government and corporate computer networks, China refutes the claim and says that it is the victim of large-scale cyber attacks from the United States.
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