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China Signals Thaw in Relations With US


China has welcomed President Barack Obama's pledge to develop a positive relationship with Beijing following several months of tension between the two economic powers.

The arrival of a new Chinese ambassador to Washington, Zhang Yesui, offered President Obama a chance to draw a delicate line under the nearly six months of strained ties between the two countries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quick to praise Tuesday President Obama's determination to build strong and positive relations.

Qin says China highly values stable U.S.-China relations and always works to develop what he describes as a long-term healthy relationship.

Such ties are, he says, important as Beijing does not desire what Qin describes as "adverse interference".

And the key to preserving this is, he says, is mutual respect and equality.

Since last November, Washington and Beijing have been at odds over cyber-hacking, trade imbalances, arms sales to Taiwan and human rights.

In his statement to welcome the new ambassador, President Obama said the U.S. supports the one China policy, referring to Beijing's territorial claim over Taiwan and Tibet.

China's leadership usually warmly welcomes such statements.

The U.S. push to impose sanctions on Iran for developing nuclear weapons also causes friction with China. Qin says Beijing does not want to see a nuclear capable Tehran.

This will please Washington which is seeking Beijing's backing in the U.N. Security Council.

However, more storm clouds may be gathering, as the U.S. administration prepares to decide if Beijing is unfairly manipulating its currency to give its manufacturers an advantage in global trade.

An announcement on this expected next month could signal a new round of tough talking by both sides. China has routinely rejected accusation that it unfairly has kept its currency weak.


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