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Zoellick Starts China Visit
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US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick arrived in Beijing on Monday night on a three-day visit to China.

During his visit, he will meet with Chinese leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing to exchange views on China-US relations and major international and regional issues of common concern, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Zoellick will hold talks with Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo to review the issues addressed during the December 2005 US-China Strategic Dialogue that they led, and review preparations for the next dialogue meeting later this year, according to a statement posted on the official website of the US State Department.

The statement quoted Zoellick as saying that the US and China are two large and important stakeholders in the international system, and it is in their shared interest to listen to each other.

"I believe it is important to stay continually engaged with my Chinese colleagues," Zoellick said in the statement.

"I look forward to a good exchange of views in Beijing on security and proliferation issues -- particularly in Northeast Asia, and Iran -- the upcoming conference on Afghanistan in London, China's efforts to promote internal openness and reform, and China's recent white paper on Africa," he said.

The statement called Zoellick's visit to China "another step in finding ways to enhanced cooperation between the United States and China within the framework that Zoellick outlined in his September 21, 2005 speech in New York, in which he proposed that the United States must step up efforts to make China a 'responsible stakeholder' in the international system."

After Beijing, Zoellick will travel to Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan Province, where he will meet with senior local government officials and visit the Chengdu Panda Research Base.

China and the US held two rounds of strategic talks in August and December last year on issues including trade, intellectual property rights protection, the Taiwan issue, bird flu, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the RMB exchange rate.

China is Zoellick's second leg of a three-nation tour covering Japan, China and Switzerland. Zoellick will leave China for the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2006)

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