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Regular Sino-US dialogue agreed
By Wu Yixue (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-11 06:10

The United States and China have agreed to begin regular, high-level talks on a wide variety of political, security and economic issues, according to a US official.

The talks will become the first dialogue framework of their kind between the two nations.

The new channel is a recognition of "the role that China is playing in Asia, and in global affairs, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council," US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Friday.

The details, structure and timing of the talks are yet to be finalized, he said. The decision to hold the discussions was reached between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese leaders during her trip to the country last month, according to the spokesman.

"The establishment of the dialogue mechanism shows the gradual maturity of bilateral relations between China and the United States," Liu Jiangyong, a researcher with the Institute of International Studies under Tsinghua University, said yesterday.

"With the complicated interna-tional and regional situations of late, both countries have shown an increasing desire to set up a high-level dialogue channel to communicate and co-ordinate on the other side's stances on many global issues," he said in a interview with China Daily.

China and the United States have maintained close ties on a number of issues, such as counter-terrorism, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

But there remain divisions between the two sides, including human rights, trade and the concept of security. "With such a high-level talks mechanism in hand, China and the United States can discuss issues of common concern and strategic significance," Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre of American Studies under Renmin University of China, was quoted as saying by the Beijing News yesterday.

It is very important for the two countries to maintain an unblocked channel of communication and co-operation, he said.

(China Daily 04/11/2005 page2)

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