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State Department high-ranking official calls for stronger relations during talks
Washington would like to strengthen communication with Beijing on key issues, a visiting high-level US diplomat said on Thursday.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made the remarks during a meeting with Vice-President Li Yuanchao. Experts said they believed the Korean Peninsula was high on Burns' agenda.
Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao meets with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Thursday in Beijing. Burns on Thursday also met State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who is in charge of foreign affairs. Liu Zhen / for China Daily
Analysts said Burns is following up on the recent visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry and has his eye on the "concrete part" of the roadmap of bilateral ties.
"As you know, (US) President (Barack) Obama and Vice-President (Joe) Biden attach the highest priority to the relations between our countries," Burns told Li.
"And I hope you see the series of visits by (US Treasury) Secretary (Jacob) Lew, Secretary Kerry and General (Martin) Dempsey as an indication of the seriousness of our interest to strengthen our relations."
Burns began his two-day China visit on Wednesday. He arrived on the heels of Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who flew into Beijing on Sunday for a five-day visit.
Lew and Kerry also visited Beijing soon after the new Chinese leadership assumed office in March.
Li said China-US relations have entered a new, important stage.
Both sides should beef up strategic mutual trust through communication, expand intertwined interests via cooperation, and properly handle differences to clear away obstacles, Li said.
Peninsula tops agenda
Burns on Thursday also met State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who is in charge of foreign affairs.
Shi Yinhong, an international affairs professor at Renmin University of China, said the Korean Peninsula issue is high on Burns' agenda.
"Although tensions have been eased more or less in the past week, the crisis is still there. It has a big effect on the joint interests of China and the US," Shi said.
Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, just paid a visit to the US that ended on Thursday.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that Wu had "candid and in-depth" talks with his US counterpart and other US officials.
They agreed that it is in the interests of both countries and all countries in the region to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula, Hua said.
Burns' priorities might also include arrangement of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the highest-level mechanism of communication between China and the US, Shi said. It has been reported the talks will be held in July in Washington.
"The frequent visits of US high-ranking officials to China, after the two presidents started their terms, reflect the strong desire of both sides to add positive factors in the key relations that have been troubled in the past several years," Shi said.
Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher on international affairs at the China Institute of International Studies, said Burns has an eye on "concrete and detailed discussions" on several issues, including the Korean Peninsula.
"It will focus on the roadmap of China-US relations in the next phase," he said.