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China says President Obama's visit to will help push Sino-American relations to what a Chinese official described as "a new historical starting point." At the same time, the two countries must deal with disagreements over trade and climate change.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said Friday his government has high hopes for President Obama's visit to China later this month.
He says this will be President Obama's first visit to China. He described it as a "big event in Sino-American relations."
The vice foreign minister says there is "great scope" for China and the United States to cooperate in areas such as energy conservation and development of new green technologies. He acknowledges, however, the possibility of setbacks to an overall agreement at the Copenhagen global conference on climate change next month.
He says China hopes that tackling climate change will be what he calls "a new bright spot in Sino-American cooperation."
At the same time, he urges the United States to respect the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international climate change agreements. He gave no specifics, but he called on developed countries to honor their commitments to provide technological and financial support to poorer developing countries.
China has made clear that it will not commit to binding cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, which are thought to contribute to warming temperatures.
Also Friday, China denounced new U.S. anti-dumping duties on nearly three billion dollars worth of Chinese-made oil well pipe.
The move is the biggest U.S. trade action against China. Yi Xiaozhun, vice minister of commerce, calls it unfair.
Yi says China is concerned and has asked the U.S. to, in his words, "seek proper treatment of this issue." He says the duties discriminate against Chinese companies and are not in line with universally recognized standards adopted by the World Trade Organization.
Besides climate change and trade, military relations are another issue that will be on the agenda during President Obama's visit. Vice-Foreign Minister He says China is committed to increasing military exchanges and believes improving military-to-military relations will be good for the Sino-American relationship overall.