The United States and China have clashed over the case of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, accused of releasing details about secret U.S. surveillance programs. He fled last month to Hong Kong.
In remarks after Thursday's high-level economic talks in Washington, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said the United States was disappointed by China's decision to refuse to extradite Snowden to the United States.
A White House statement said President Barack Obama expressed his disappointment about China's handling of the Snowden case during talks Thursday with a Chinese delegation.
China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi replied in his remarks that Hong Kong's handling of the situation was "beyond reproach."
China's state-run Xinhua news service said Thursday that "instead of heating up mutual accusations on the issue," Beijing took "a constructive attitude" and tried to work with Washington on cyberspace issues. Xinhua also said China "stayed focused on the key issues" despite "cacophonies made by some in Washington who continue to point fingers at China" over the handling of Snowden's case.
Snowden is at a Moscow airport, seeking asylum in another country. The United States has revoked Snowden's passport and is seeking his extradition. Russia has refused to hand him over, but is urging Snowden to look elsewhere for shelter.