China is welcoming the opening of a "new channel" of communications with the United States after talks in Hawaii where South China Sea tensions were discussed.
A commentary Sunday in the official Xinhua news agency said the talks resulted from Washington's strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region and China's growing global influence. It said China welcomes America's enhanced role in the region as long as it is constructive for peace and development.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said after the talks on Saturday with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai that the two had "candid and clear" discussions about the South China Sea disputes.
He said the United States wants tensions to subside and that it seeks a dialogue among all the key players in the disputes.
Both Vietnam and the Philippines have protested recent actions by Chinese naval vessels in waters the two countries claim as their exclusive economic zones. The two have sought U.S. support in the conflicts, prompting China to warn the United States against outside interference.
China and Vietnam agreed at a meeting Saturday in Beijing to peacefully resolve their dispute through negotiations and friendly consultations. The Philippines last week won assurances from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the United States remains committed to a 60-year-old mutual defense treaty with Manila.
Despite the tensions, Campbell said the talks in Hawaii helped the the United States and China achieve a better understanding of each other's intentions, policies and actions. Xinhua quoted Cui as saying the talks had been "friendly, candid and constructive."
The consultations grew out of the third round of a China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogue in May. China says they reflect an agreement between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship.
Further meetings are planned at a date that has not been determined.