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China, US find more to agree on

By Zhang Yunbi and Li Xiaokun in Beijing and Chen Weihua in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-01-28 12:10

President Xi Jinping hosts US Secretary of State John Kerry for talks in Beijing

Top diplomats from Beijing and Washington found more common ground on Wednesday on key issues, including the latest nuclear test by Pyongyang.

In a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, President Xi Jinping said that China-US ties have been smooth and have advanced in the past year, and the two countries have had "timely communication" on topics including the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

China, US find more to agree on

President Xi Jinping escorts US Secretary of State John Kerry in Beijing on Wednesday. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

When China and the United States work together, they can make big things happen that are good for the world, Xi said.

Meeting the media with Kerry at the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will hold "comprehensive and in-depth deliberations with the United States and other parties" on an expected United Nations Security Council resolution on the recent nuclear test by Pyongyang.

China and the US have agreed on the broad goal of restarting negotiations on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Wang said. Kerry said their meeting was constructive, and the two countries had agreed to accelerate their efforts on the issue at the UN.

Kerry spoke highly of productive communication and coordination between the two countries, specifically mentioning the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

Responding to allegations by US media that China's self-defense facilities on some gar-risoned islands and reefs in the South China Sea have "boosted militarization", Wang said China has promised not to engage in that activity.

"International law has given all sovereign countries the right to self-protection and self-defense," Wang said.

Taiwan also featured in the talks between the top diplomats, with Wang saying, "Taiwan is a core issue affecting China-US ties."

He urged Washington to "take concrete action to support the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations". In response, Kerry reaffirmed the US commitment to the One-China policy.

Kerry arrived in China on Tuesday after stops in Laos and Cambodia. He also met with State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Wednesday.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner on Wednesday described sanctions as one of the most effective tools against North Korea, something China has a different view of. The impoverished Democratic People's Republic of Korea is already one of the most sanctioned nations in the world.

Toner said China and the US agree that the way forward is through the UN Security Council. "We will continue to work with China on that," he said.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Center on Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), blamed the Chinese activities of land reclamation for increasing tensions in the South China Sea. But Harris noted that the Chinese have a different view, and he had robust discussions with his Chinese counterparts last October during his visit to China.

Harris reminded the audience that the Chinese military "has done positive and good things globally", citing the example of the People's Liberation Army in counterpiracy operations, evacuations from Yemen, removing chemical weapons from Syria, participation in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval drills and sending its large hospital ship to the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

"We didn't send our hospital ship," he said.

Harris praised the Chinese for being a "terrific host. They treated me with the greatest respect, and I look forward to continue that dialogue with China," he said.

Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said China and the US should "grab the wheel firmly", adding that one of the expected political legacies of US President Barack Obama is the steady and healthy growth of the bilateral relationship.

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