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Rice arrives in Beijing for visit
Updated: 2005-03-20 16:18

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Beijing Sunday afternoon, kicking off her first China trip since she took office in January.

During her stay, Rice is expected to confer with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Wu Yi and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, and hold talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, her Chinese host.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice answers questions from students at Sophia University Mar. 19 in Tokyo.(AFP)

According to sources with the Foreign Ministry, both sides will discuss China-US relations, the Taiwan issue, the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue and other issues of mutual interests.

China wishes Rice's visit "a successful tour" and hopes China and the United States to increase mutual understanding, expand consensus and reduce disputes through the visit so as to further push forward the China-US constructive and cooperative ties, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan told press when asked to comment Rice's visit.

Relations between China and the United States have maintained sound development momentum in general, local analysts said, noting that both sides can further their relations given they can handle the relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective.

China is the last leg of Rice's eight-day, six-nation Asian trip which has already taken her to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

She previously visited China in February 2002 and July 2004, respectively, as the US national security adviser. 

US can hold direct talks with DPRK within six-party talks

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday that the United States can hold direct talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) within the framework of the six-party nuclear talks.

Rice made the remarks during a joint press conference with her South Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon after their meeting earlier in the day.

The US senior official made clear that there won't be direct US- DPRK talks outside the six-party talks, because the nuclear issue is not only between the two, but a regional one.

Rice also said six-party talks is the "best way" for the DPRK to receive "respect" it desires and "assistance" it needs.

Meanwhile, Rice and Ban both urged the DPRK to return to the six-party nuclear talks "without delay."

Before holding meeting with Ban Ki-moon, Rice also met South Korean Unification Minister and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council Chung Dong-young and paid courtesy call on South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.

Earlier Sunday, in a group interview by local internet outlets' journalists, Rice reiterated that Washington has no plan to attack the DPRK and urged Pyongyang to make "strategic choice" to scrap nuclear program.

The US senior official arrived in Seoul on Saturday evening for a less than-24 hour trip here.

Seoul is the fifth leg of Rice's six Asian nations tour which had already taken her to India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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