US President George W. Bush is a strong supporter of China, a former US diplomat who played a key role in establishing permanent normal trade relations with China last year, said William Daley Tuesday.
William Daley, speaking at a telecommunications conference in Hong Kong, played down recent diplomatic differences between the two nations, stressing that Sino-US economic links had never been stronger.
"Bush is a strong supporter of economic and trade relations with China. He understands the importance of it," the former commerce and trade secretary under former President Bill Clinton, said.
Last week both sides reached a consensus on major trade issues, paving the way for China's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The agreement marked the Bush administration's first positive steps with China since relations were frayed by a row over a US spy plane that had collided with a Chinese fighter jet.
Daley dismissed suggestions that the diplomatic standoff which followed the incident had been fuelled by anti-Chinese sentiment within the White House.
"I do not think there is paranoia in the way that people think about China, either within the administration or among the American people."
Daley added that he expected China to ascend to WTO prior to next round of global trade talks in Qatar in November, although he added there was still an element of doubt.
"I am optimistic that China will be in the WTO by the end of the year. However I was optimistic last spring when the US and China established permanent normal trading relations (PNTR)."
PNTR guarantees China the same irrevocable low tariff access to US markets as other American trading partners in return for a promise by Beijing to throw open their vast markets to US firms.