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US, Chinese Officials Launch Dialogue to Improve Relations


Senior U.S. and Chinese officials have met in Beijing for the first in what is being billed as a regular series of dialogues aimed at easing trade and political tensions.

Relations between the United States and China have been put under stress by ongoing disputes over textile trade, widespread product piracy in China, the revaluation of the Chinese currency and Beijing's military build-up.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has been in Beijing to meet senior Chinese leaders in Beijing, in the first of a series of regular, high-level consultations aimed at improving the sometimes-strained relations.

Meeting with reporters in Beijing, Mr. Zoellick said China had come a long way in its integration into the international community, and that the United States and China must work together to improve relations.

"The United States and China, as common stakeholders in these systems, need to work together to try to pursue common interests, and maintain and strengthen these systems for cooperation of issues of today and those in the years ahead," he said.

On Sunday, Mr. Zoellick met with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. He met with Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo Monday for what China's state media called a "full day of discussions."

Mr. Zoellick said that during the talks, he and the Chinese officials discussed everything from trade to terrorism.

This first of what are expected to be bi-annual meetings came as the result of an agreement reached last year between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Mr. Zoellick said a second round would be held in Washington later this year.

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