US Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice on Thursday emphatically denied that the US was pursuing a policy of containment against China in an exclusive interview with The Australian, a leading Australian newspaper, during her visit to the country.
"I come from the Cold War period," Rice said.
"Containment has a special meaning. We never used it in this context ... I think it's just a phrase I wouldn't apply," she said.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer warned earlier this week against using containment as a strategy for dealing with China.
The term was used in a media interview earlier this week, and Downer again volunteered the controversial phrase at a joint press conference with Rice on Thursday.
"From our point of view we've never had a concern that the US was pursuing a policy of containment of China or something like that," Downer said.
"Our relationship has its own dynamic, we have our own issues. We have a very good and constructive relationship with China," he said.
Rice also said that the US had "excellent" relations with Beijing and had tried to engineer China's integration into regional and global institutions.
However, Rice restated that the US had concerns about China's human rights, religious freedom and military build-up.
Rice is scheduled to hold a inaugural ministerial security dialogue on Saturday with Downer and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, a discussion that is expected to focus on the rise of China.
(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2006)