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Negroponte: Sino-US relations a highlight of Bush years
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By Zhou Jing, China.org.cn staff reporter

In Beijing to mark 30 years of Sino-US diplomatic relations, US Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte highlighted the progress in Sino-US relations achieved over the past eight years of the Bush administration.

"As President Bush's administration ends, we believe we are leaving in place a strong record of accomplishment in US-China bilateral ties, and robust dialogue mechanisms for dealing with issues of concern to our two countries," Mr. Negroponte told a press conference held at the US embassy on Thursday.

He said that, building on a record of diplomatic accomplishment going back three decades and spanning both Democratic and Republican administrations, the basis exists for continued and expanded joint contributions by China and the US to global peace and prosperity in the years ahead.

Asked whether he had any regrets about the past eight years of bilateral relations, he said, "I don't have any particular regrets. In fact I would venture to predict that when historians look back at the record of the Bush administration, surely one of the highlights will be the progress that has been achieved in the United States-China bilateral relationship."

He said bilateral economic ties are very significant, with China now the United States' third most important trading partner, and cooperation between two countries on regional and global security issues is also of great significance.

He highlighted the close personal relationship between President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao, saying the two presidents had met frequently and were in regular telephone contact.

Below the presidential level, the two countries have established very solid mechanisms for dialogue in the economic and political areas, said Mr Negroponte, adding that he hoped the mechanisms would remain in place during the next US administration.

He said the two major challenges for the coming Obama administration in terms of the US policy towards China would be regional security issues, such as the six-party talks, and the international economic situation, in particular the challenge to preserve an open international trading and financial system.

Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, in place of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is occupied with the crisis in the Middle East.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Tuesday that China "understands the US decision to cancel Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's scheduled visit to China, and we are looking forward to Mr Negroponte's visit."

Qin said this arrangement also indicated that the US attaches great importance to celebrations to mark the anniversary of diplomatic ties with China, and that it valued the Sino-US relations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with Negroponte. Mr Negroponte and other US politicians also attended a series of commemoration events, including a reception, a seminar, a photo exhibition and a ping-pong game.

(China.org.cn January 8, 2009)

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