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Pelosi here to 'look and listen'
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US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was once described by Western media as "one of the most vocal critics of China", expressed to Chinese leaders yesterday her admiration for the country's achievements in the past years.
 Watch President Hu Jintao meet US House Speaker

 President Hu Jintao welcomes visiting US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"You've taken hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. You're taking a leading role on the world stage and being a partner in terms of how we preserve our planet," Pelosi told President Hu Jintao during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

"You have succeeded in many ways We've come to look and listen," Pelosi, 69, said.

The eight-day visit by one of the most powerful women in US history is widely seen as another key event in Sino-US relations, following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the Chinese capital in February.

Last year, Pelosi suggested to then US president George W. Bush that he boycott the opening of the Beijing Olympics. She also visited the Dalai Lama last year and had earlier opposed normal trade relations with China.

But ahead of her departure for China, Pelosi said on Capitol Hill she had no plans to raise sensitive issues this time and would focus instead on green concerns.

Like some of the four Democrat and Republican Congress members accompanying her, Pelosi brought her husband and son, introducing them to Chinese leaders including President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Hu warmly welcomed the US delegation and said differences between the two sides could be handled through dialogue and consultation.

"A Sino-US relationship that will be stable for a long period, developing soundly, is conducive for both peoples and the world at large," Wen said.

The main aim of Pelosi's China tour was to seek the country's cooperation at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December, which is expected to yield a new pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol in fighting global warming and climate change, US media earlier reported.

Wen said China will enhance cooperation with the US in pushing for positive results at the conference.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress, also met Pelosi and her delegation.

"The key to the bilateral relationship lies in respecting and taking care of each other's core interests," Wu said, referring to the Taiwan and Tibet issues as "the most important and sensitive ones".

Sun Zhe, director of the Center for Sino-US Relations at Tsinghua University, said Pelosi is not here to prepare for a visit by US President Barack Obama, reportedly due before the year end, but for US national interests and its Congress.

Tao Wenzhao, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he remembers Pelosi being one of the "strong opponents" of granting China the most favored-nation treatment when he visited her office in 1991.

Now everything is different, he said.

"The shift in stance of the US Congress ... will now help to push our cooperation forward."

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2009)

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