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Chinese, US presidents hold talks

By T V Parasuram in New York
September 14, 2005 11:47 IST
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China has urged the United States to oppose independence for Taiwan, while Washington won a pledge from Beijing to step up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. However, both sides had differences over whether to seek international sanctions against Iran.

At an hour-long meeting with President George W Bush on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Hu Jintao to 'step up' Chinese co-operation with the US, to 'facilitate fresh progress' in the negotiations with the two Koreas, Japan and Russia.

On Sino-US ties, Hu said 'proper handling' of the Taiwan issue was critical to future co-operation. "I hope that the US will join the Chinese side in safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and opposing so-called independence," Hu told Bush.

About the sensitive North Korean nuclear issue, Hu assured Bush, "We have always stood for a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula, stood for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through dialogue and stood for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as a whole."

While offering help on North Korea, Hu did not agree to the US proposal to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions for its suspected nuclear programme.

Bush, on his part, said his discussions with Hu ranged from how to prevent an avian flu pandemic to economic matters and nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran. "No, we did not come away with a clear commitment on the tactics," Mike Green, US National Security Council's senior director for Asia, said at a briefing on the meeting.

"China thinks we all need to step up the diplomatic efforts (on Iran)," Green said, adding Bush did not ask for a commitment on sanctions but the Chinese side 'understands, I think, exactly where we're coming from.'

Although the US has lately been stressing the need to take the issue to the Security Council if there is no quick solution, Green said, "I would characterise the tone of the discussion as positive and we will follow up with the Chinese."

Bush also raised human rights concerns with Hu and the administration presented China's delegation with a list of
specific cases that the US regards as particularly important. Bush also accepted an invitation to visit China in November, after a summit in South Korea with Asian leaders.

Hu promised to work towards reducing China's $160 billion trade surplus with the US and to step up enforcement of intellectual property rights. He said China 'does not pursue a huge trade surplus' with the US and 'is willing to work with the US to take effective measures to increase China's imports from the US and work hard to gradually address the trade imbalances.'

"Our bilateral trade has developed so fast and to such a large scale, it is inevitable that we may have some frictions," Hu said. Hu also expresed China's deepest sympathy to the US government and people for the human loss and  property loss inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.

Complete coverage: Prime Minister at the UN

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T V Parasuram in New York
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