Powell: Ties With China on Upswing

Relations between China and the United States are on an "upswing", US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday.

Powell made the comment after meeting Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan in Hanoi on the sidelines of a regional security meeting.

Powell said Sino-US relations were improving now that a diplomatic standoff over a US spy plane made an emergency landing on Hainan Island was behind them.

He said his meeting with Mr Tang had been excellent ahead of his visit to Beijing on Saturday.

"So I think the relationship is on an upswing now that the irritations are behind us, and I know that they are anxious to move forward," Mr Powell said. "They believe that we have a role to play in the region. They're not trying to squeeze us out."

Asked about details of the talks, Mr Tang said: "We talked about two items that are very important to America - non-proliferation (of nuclear weapons) and some individuals' cases."

Before their meeting, both Powell and Tang reassured delegates at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum that relations between China and the US were improving.

The forum, sponsored by the 10-member Asean group, includes dialogue partners such as the US, China, Russia, South Korea, Australia and the European Union.

China and the US have been at loggerheads over the collision of a US spy plane with a Chinese jet fighter in April, three Taiwan spys caught in Chinese mainland and Washington's proposals to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan.

Participants at the Hanoi meeting reaffirmed the importance of stable US-China relations and broadly felt those ties were moving in the right direction "for all the difficulties there have been this year", Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Asean foreign ministers said stable relations among the major powers, "particularly the US and China", were important to peace in the region.

US plans for a missile defence umbrella were also discussed, with Tang warning the US plans would harm regional stability. Insistence on setting up a missile defence would "do no good to trust and co-operation between countries", he said.

(Chinadaily.com.cn 07/26/2001)

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