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Clinton Calls for Greater Access to Chinese Economy

US Secretary of State makes comments in Shanghai before heading to Beijing

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Sunday for greater American access to the Chinese economy, calling for fair access to Chinese government contracts and transparent rules.

Speaking in Shanghai a day before the start of a high-level Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, Clinton stressed the importance of a level playing field in China, where Chinese and international companies can compete freely and openly.

The Beijing talks are expected to focus on the economy and on the sinking of a South Korean warship.

In Tokyo Friday, Clinton denounced North Korea for sinking the ship, and warned "provocative actions have consequences."

North Korea has denied responsibility for the incident, and has vowed to respond to any retaliation with "all out war."

Clinton toured the World Expo in Shanghai Saturday, handing out teddy bears to Chinese school children.

She said the United States and China may not agree on all issues but that the two nations should "seize opportunities" like the expo to build a greater understanding.

The economic talks in Beijing are expected to focus, in part, on China's currency.

Washington accuses Beijing of keeping the yuan artificially weak to make Chinese exports cheaper on the global market, something China denies.

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