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Clinton says China, US can work together

By Chen Weihua in Washington and Cheng Guangjin in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-01-31 03:03

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will leave her post on Friday, has said that the United States wants to see a cooperative, comprehensive and positive relationship with China.

Clinton said that together, the two countries will defy history.

"Historically, a rising power and a predominant power have had clashes, whether they were economical or military. Neither of us wants to see that happen," she told a global town hall forum in Washington on Tuesday, watched by students from around the world via satellite.

"We want to see a rising power like China join the international community as a responsible stakeholder, continue its extraordinary efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, create a strong, vital middle-class and have respectful relations with its neighbors, in all of the ways on land and sea that is required," she said.

A Chinese person sent a question via micro blog asking whether the competition between the US and China in Asia will lead to both countries losing.

"No. I don't think so," said Clinton.

"I think healthy competition is a part of development, human nature. I don't see any problem with healthy competition as long as it is rules-based. Healthy competition requires that everybody know what the rules are, and then you go out and compete, whether it's on the sporting field or in the economic or political arena," she said.

Clinton said the US wants to deepen and broaden its engagement with China. "I helped to put together the strategic and economic dialogues, which we then used to discuss everything, from border security to food safety to cyber matters. And we want to continue that, because we believe strongly that the world is big enough for a lot of nations to be important players. That is certainly true of China," she said.

Just as Clinton was engaged in her 59th and last such town hall forum, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved John Kerry as the next secretary of state. In a full Senate vote in the afternoon, Kerry was confirmed by an overwhelming vote of 94 to 3.

US President Barack Obama's "second term probably won't see as a tough vocal stance against China that was seen in Clinton's time, but its major policies on China are hardly going to change," said Shi Yinhong, an expert on US studies at Renmin University of China.

Chinese government has been calling for the building a new type of partnership with the US, but it's difficult for the them to reach consensus on major concerns of core interest, Shi said.

Ni Feng, a researcher of US Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it is notable that elements traditionally viewed as flash points, such as Taiwan, have become stable between the two, while new "third-party" elements such as disputes over islands between China and its Asian neighbors have become more dangerous.

It can be expected that Obama will not significantly change the general framework of its China policy, but aggressive contradictions in his previous term will be reduced, which is to some extent conducive to a possible development of bilateral tensions, said Ni.

On the relationship with Pyongyang, "with a new young leader we all expected something different," Clinton said of Kim Jong-un, "We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the people, not just the elite, but everyone."

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Pu Zhendong and Reuters contributed to this story.

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