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China, US aim for closer ties, pledge unity on global crises

CHINA and the United States yesterday agreed to establish a dialogue on strategic and economic issues and pledged to work together to tackle the global financial crisis and climate change.

The agreement came out of a flurry of meetings during the day between Chinese leaders and visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Now it is more important than anytime in the past to deepen and develop China-US relations amid the spreading financial crisis and increasing global challenges," Chinese President Hu Jintao told Clinton.

Saying their relations were "among the most important bilateral relations in the world," Hu proposed both countries work closely to address international financial crisis and tackle climate change and other global challenges so as to seek a sound and smooth growth of bilateral ties.

Clinton told Hu she felt like a beginning of "a new era" of bilateral relations characterized by "positive cooperation."

Clinton's visit to Beijing, the last leg of her inaugural overseas trip, marked the beginning of face-to-face diplomacy between the two countries since the Obama administration took office last month.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during his meeting with Clinton that jointly addressing the global financial crisis provided an opportunity for China and the United States to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation.

Wen said in the face of the complicated and ever-shifting international political and economic situation, China and the United States should not only "cross the river in a common boat," but also "progress together hand in hand."

Clinton later told Hu: "This morning I and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi agreed in principle to a strategic and economic dialogue between our two countries that we will work on with the hope of having you and President Obama formally announce it in London."

The dialogue will be built on the earlier Strategic Economic Dialogue, initiated during the Bush administration.

"World events have given us a full and formidable agenda," Clinton told the press following the 100-minute of talks with her Chinese counterpart. "We discussed matters of bilateral concerns and spent a great deal of time on the array of global problems that both countries face together and we can work together to solve."

One of the key areas both agreed on was to fight the global financial crisis.

Clinton said, "We have every reason to believe the United States and China will recover, and together we will help lead the world recovery."

Both confirmed that the two presidents will meet on the sidelines of a G20 summit in London in April, the first since Obama took office last month. Clinton will also meet with Chinese women representatives and go to church before concluding her week-long Asia trip at noon today.


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