China, US reach broad consensus at dialogue

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International issues

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that both sides discussed hot spot issues ranging from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran to Sudan and Syria.

Every problem has provided an opportunity for cooperation, she said.

Clinton said she expected the mechanism only to be consolidated in the future, although some of the four representatives will leave their current position and say farewell to the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

State Councillor Dai Bingguo called the talks a "tremendous" success.

He said on Friday the small-scale strategic talks, which usually touch upon sensitive issues, were the most time-consuming of all talks in this round.

"It took a whole day yesterday" he said, adding both sides have been more candid than before and have become accustomed to in-depth talks with each other.

He also noted that human rights should not be used to "interfere in other countries' internal affairs" and that no country could claim to be perfect in that regard.

According to the Foreign Ministry, among dozens of achievements on the strategic channel, the two sides decided to hold another round of consultation on Asia-Pacific affairs later this year, and a human rights dialogue in Washington in the summer.

A meeting on Middle East affairs was also put on the agenda. In addition, both sides are considering sending a Chinese maritime security ship to Hawaii in September for a joint drill with a US Coast Guard ship.

Earlier on Friday, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang met the US delegates.

Hu said this round of talks reached several "significant agreements" and expressed appreciation for the "excellent work".

Clinton told Hu the US-China relationship is "stronger than it has ever been".

"There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we will find more and more opportunities for cooperation," she said.

"We have developed a very open and honest relationship where we can discuss our differences, and we remain committed to bridging those differences whenever and wherever possible," she said.

Zhao Kejin, an expert on strategy and diplomatic studies with Tsinghua University, said this round of talks is an "updated version" of the previous three rounds.

From speeches from both sides, people can feel Beijing and Washington are pushing for the mechanism to become a long-term one, he said.

"The relations of the two nations are no longer only a bilateral one but exert an impact on other places in the world. So we say Beijing and Washington must talk to have people around the world rest assured."

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