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China Hints at Resolution of Sino-US Disputes

The Great Hall of the People on the first day of the National People's Congress session

China's foreign minister says Beijing and the United States should move past recent disputes and work together to get relations back on track. The foreign minister's comments came on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi appeared to signal Sunday that a small, but significant, thaw in the frosty relations between Beijing and Washington has begun.

During a lengthy news conference at the on-going National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, he invited the United States to work with China to put recent differences behind them.

He says the United States should work with the Chinese in a joint effort to return the China-U.S. relationship to a track of stable development. And he says Beijing hopes the United States will agree to overcome the differences.

Beijing and Washington have been at odds over a number of issues. Among them are U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the White House welcome for Tibet's exiled leader, the Dali Lama, Chinese cyber-spying and trade issues.

Yang's call for a resolution came amid a repeat of the hostile rhetoric by Beijing in recent weeks.

He reiterated Beijing's claim the United States had caused the strained ties, saying China's core interests had been ignored. China's foreign policy has caused international anger recently, including Beijing's rigid stance on climate change and emissions cuts.

Beijing's trade policies have also caused friction. China has refused to adjust the value of its currency, the yuan, which has been frozen at just under $7 since mid-2008. This has allowed Beijing to preserve the international competitiveness of its exports.

Europe and the United States claim this creates unfair trade balances and have called on Beijing to loosen the yuan. China's central bank released a statement to NPC delegates Saturday pledging to keep the country's currency stable throughout 2010.

Beijing has said it believes a change in its exchange rate will lead to a slowdown in economic growth and mass unemployment, threatening social stability.

Chinese exports plunged by 16 percent last year. China's Commerce Minister, Chen Deming, says it could take up to three years for the country's exports to reach pre-global financial crisis levels.