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Clinton to meet top Beijing leaders

Publication Date : 05-09-2012


United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the Chinese capital yesterday, with the South China Sea disputes topping her agenda.

Her 24-hour visit here will include meetings with the Chinese top brass such as President Hu Jintao, Vice-President Xi Jinping and State Councillor Dai Bingguo, said the official Xinhua news agency yesterday.

Last night, Mrs Clinton met her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, who was quoted by Xinhua as saying at their meeting that "stable and healthy Sino-US relations would not only benefit both countries but also improve global peace and stability".

In response, Mrs Clinton said the US is striving to build a partnership with China as it is a crucial aspect of Washington's "pivot" to the Pacific region.

The visit, her second in four months, comes amid renewed tensions between China and some Asean states over conflicting claims in the South China Sea.

It is part of her six-nation tour in the Asia Pacific beginning in the Cook Islands that has already got the Chinese all worked up.

For on Monday, during the second leg of her trip in Jakarta, she had said the US does not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features in the South China Sea.

"But we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively together to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force," said the top US diplomat.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a briefing yesterday that China noted the US' pledge not to take sides and hopes it would keep its word.

But the Global Times in an editorial yesterday accused Mrs Clinton of fomenting friction between China and surrounding states over territorial disputes, which increased the "strategic pressure from the US" on China.

It also criticised her for failing to tell Americans that the US, with its limited resources and domestic constraints, could not dominate and curb China.

In Jakarta yesterday, Mrs Clinton called on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and met Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan and the grouping's diplomats.

She told the diplomats the US supported Asean's centrality, which was essential to the grouping's unity.

She added that Washington will do all it can to advance Asean's goal of integration because "we have an interest in strengthening Asean's ability to address regional challenges in an effective, comprehensive way".


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