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Rice to Kick off 20-hour China Visit

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to arrive in Beijing Saturday evening for a whirlwind visit as guest of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.


China is the first leg of Rice's four-nation Asian tour aimed primarily at finding ways to resume stalled six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.


During her stay, Rice is expected to confer with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and hold talks with Li Zhaoxing, on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern, according to sources with the Foreign Ministry.


Besides China, Rice will also go to Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea.


Before her departure, Rice told reporters Friday the United States had no "timetable" for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the stalled multilateral negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program and would "keep opening doors" in a bid to jumpstart the talks.


She expressed confidence in the US-China cooperation in the promotion of restarting the six-party talks.


This will be Rice's second trip to China in less than four months. Her first China visit in the capacity of US secretary of state was made on March 20.


(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2005)

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