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Clinton Lays Groundwork for Obama, Hu Talks in April

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet in Washington next month to work out details for talks between the presidents of their two countries in April.

Clinton met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao Saturday in Beijing, the last stop on her tour of four Asian countries.

The meeting followed talks with Yang which focused on working more closely on climate change, security and addressing the global financial crisis.

They also laid the groundwork for a meeting between Mr. Hu and U.S. President Barack Obama during the upcoming summit of G-20 nations in London in April. It would be the first meeting between the two leaders.

After her meeting with Yang, Clinton made it clear that the Obama administration seeks to forge good relations with China.

She also said China and the U.S. are resuming military exchanges that were suspended last October when the Bush administration notified Congress of its plans to sell nearly $7 billion worth of arms to Taiwan.

Clinton went on to say she appreciates China's continued confidence in U.S. Treasury bonds. China is the largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds.

Ahead of her talks, she said the debate with China over human rights should not get in the way of progress in other areas.

Amnesty International said it was disappointed that Clinton would not make human rights a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China. Human Rights Watch called Clinton's remarks a strategic mistake.

Clinton said she would not shy away from such questions, but added that U.S. officials more or less know what China is going to say.

Beijing is Clinton's last stop on her first overseas trip as the top U.S. diplomat.

On Sunday, she will attend church services in China and meet with women and civil society leaders, then head back to Washington.

Clinton's trip has already taken her to Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.

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