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Top US Financial Official Heads to China

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to Beijing Thursday for talks with Chinese officials.

Geithner heads to China after a two-day visit to India.  A U.S. Treasury spokesman said Wednesday that Geithner will hold talks with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who holds the economic affairs portfolio.

Geithner's trip is the latest sign that relations between the U.S. and China are improving after a series of disputes in recent months.  

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai says the two sides have reached what he describes as "a new consensus" following a telephone call earlier this month between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.  

Mr. Hu and Mr. Obama will meet on the sidelines of a global nuclear security summit in Washington next week.  The Chinese leader is also scheduled to give a speech at the two-day summit on the importance of nuclear security.

Several sensitive issues between the U.S. and China remain unresolved. These include China's refusal to back United Nations sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear activities, and U.S. claims that Beijing is deliberately undervaluing its currency to give Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.

But the Obama administration has decided to delay the release of a report due next week that could have officially tagged China as a currency manipulator.

The U.S. and Beijing have also been at odds because of a multi-billion dollar U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, Mr. Obama's White House meeting with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and China's censorship of the Internet.

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

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