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China-US common interests on increase
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Saturday the common interests of China and the United States are on the increase rather than on the decrease.
Li made the remarks at a press conference on the sideline of the annual session of China's top legislature.
Li, who served as Chinese Ambassador to the United States in Washington in 1998-2001, said no matter where he is, he is always a firm supporter of the friendly relations between China and the United States.
The development of healthy, stable and cooperative relations between China and the United States conforms to the common interests of the two countries and benefits global peace and development, he said.
"As time passes, the common interests between China and the United States - the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country - are actually on the increase rather than on the decrease," he said.
He said China and the United States have expanded their cooperation in both width and depth.
After the September 11 incident in the United States, China and the United States have stepped up their cooperation against terrorism and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Li said.
The economic and trade exchanges have also grown markedly, he noted. the United States is one of China's biggest trading partners and more than 40,000 US firms are operating in China.
The exchanges in the cultural sector are also increasing. There are 60,000 Chinese students studying in the United States and about 4,000 US students are studying in China, Li said, adding that the Chinese language has become the third largest language in the United States.
"It is unimaginable that there are no differences between the two big countries," the foreign minister said. "If all countries in the world look completely the same, how boring it would be."
Li said the biggest difference between China and the United States lies in the Taiwan issue. "But there is an agreement between China and the United States, that is, the United States recognizes that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China."
"As long as the two sides abide by the principles embodied in the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, the China-US relations would go forward healthily," he said.
Li said China attaches much importance and gives a high appraisal to the remarks made by US President Gorge W. Bush on Dec. 9 last year, which were also expressed clearly by President Bush during his two meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao.