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Parliament exchange pushes Sino-US ties
By Meng Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-06 00:48

The inter-parliamentary group of China's National People's Congress (NPC) and the US Senate have completed their first round of talks in Beijing.

The meeting marks the official launch of a formal exchange mechanism between the NPC and the US Senate, which was established in January.

So far, the US Senate has only established similar exchange mechanisms with Britain, Canada, Mexico and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

It is yet another major move to expand China-US parliamentary exchanges and co-operation since the NPC and the US House of Representatives first created a conference mechanism in 1999.

Since then, the NPC and the US House of Representatives have had five conferences.

The delegation, headed by Ted Stevens, president pre tempore of the US Senate, is the highest-ranking group sent by the US Congress to China in nearly seven years.

Its members include Senate Majority leader Bill Frist, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, co-chairman of the US side of the inter-parliamentary group, as well as members from the appropriation, intelligence, energy and natural resources, agricultural and commerce committees of the US Senate.

During their eight-day tour, the senators will also visit Gansu Province and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in western China.

President Hu Jintao, NPC Standing Committee chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao held separate meetings and talks with the delegation during their stay in Beijing.

"The visit has a positive impact on the improvement of the constant contacts and dialogue between the NPC and the US Congress and the promotion of bilateral relations," said Jiang Enzhu, director of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sheng Huaren, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee, and Stevens jointly hosted the talks of the group on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing.

Jiang said China-US relations and the question of Taiwan were the focus of discussion.

The Chinese side reiterated its principled stance on the question of Taiwan and urged the US side to honour its commitment to the one-China policy and opposition to Taiwan independence.

China stressed that the Hong Kong affair was China's interior affair. The US side said the introduction on the background of Hong Kong's political structure and its related policy was necessary for them to better understand the issue.

The two sides agreed to handle possible trade frictions under the principles of development, equality and reciprocity.

They also reached consensus that China and the US should enhance their co-ordination and co-operation in handling the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the Iraqi issue and the issues of anti-terrorism and non-proliferation.

The two sides agreed to conduct regular exchanges and push for exchanges and dialogue at all levels between the NPC and the US Senate.

Sheng will head a Chinese delegation to the US next year to conduct the second round of talks of the group.

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