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Obama, Chinese FM Discuss Naval Dispute, Other Issues


U.S. President Barack Obama has suggested increasing military contacts with China in order to avoid more incidents like Sunday's confrontation between Chinese vessels and a U.S. surveillance ship in the South China Sea.

Mr. Obama made the suggestion in a meeting at the White House Thursday with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to discuss the naval dispute and other issues.

Meanwhile, news reports quoting an anonymous U.S. official said heavily armed destroyers will escort U.S. surveillance ships in the South China Sea, which China says is its exclusive economic zone.

The reports said an advanced warship, USS Chung-Hoon, has already joined the surveillance ship involved in Sunday's confrontation, the USNS Impeccable.

The White House says Mr. Obama and Foreign Minister Yang agreed to work together to stabilize the global economy by stimulating domestic demand and credit markets. Mr. Obama also stressed the importance of addressing global trade imbalances.

Thursdays talks in the White House Oval Office also touched on human rights, Tibet, the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region and North Korea. Mr. Obama emphasized the risks posed by North Korea's missile program.

Earlier Thursday, Yang said the U.S. and China should work together to overcome the global economic crisis and fight the threat of protectionism. Yang also said a planned meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in London next month is of great importance to U.S.-China ties. The two leaders are due to meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 major developed and emerging economies.

It will be Mr. Obama's first meeting with Mr. Hu since the U.S. president took office.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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