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China Ready to Host Secretary Clinton

  • Alison Klayman

China is ready to host U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will be making her first trip to Beijing in her new position. Secretary Clinton arrives in the Chinese capital, Friday.

Mrs. Clinton chose to highlight climate change, among other issues, on her trip to Asia this week. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday that China attaches great importance to the issue and hopes to strengthen Sino-American cooperation in addressing climate change.

Jiang says, despite the financial crisis, China already developed a national program against climate change and will continue to make unremitting efforts in this area.

She also says China looks forward to progress at global climate treaty talks, scheduled for the end of the year in Copenhagen. China has passed the United States to become the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases.

Although climate change is a likely topic of discussion for Clinton's Beijing visit, many China analysts say her trip will be judged more on tone than actual content. Chinese officials are hoping relations will continue in the non-confrontational spirit of the George W. Bush administration.

Clinton, herself, has advocated a "positive and cooperative" relationship with Beijing. In a speech at the Asia Society in New York, last weekend, she said Washington has a very broad agenda when it comes to China.

One topic likely to be addressed during her visit is Taiwan. China views cross-straits relations as one of the most important aspects of U.S.-China ties. Spokeswoman Jiang says Beijing hopes the United States will stay committed to the One China principle.

The undecided fate of 17 Uighur detainees, who were cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, may also be raised in Secretary Clinton's talks with her Chinese counterparts. Although Beijing wants the men to be returned for trial, the United States has not agreed to send them to China, fearing they may be persecuted.

Spokeswoman Jiang says China wants the men to be prosecuted in China, because they are members of the East Turkestan terrorist organization, which is on a sanction list of the U.N. Security Council.

Jiang says China is against any country accepting the Chinese Muslim detainees.

Some of the 17 Uighur detainees were cleared for release as early as 2003, but have continued to be held because no other country agreed to take them. Wednesday, a U.S. appeals court in Washington overturned a ruling that would have released the men into the United States.

In 2006, Albania accepted five other Uighur men who were released from Guantanamo Bay.

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