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State Dept: US, China Hold 'Unprecedented' Informal Talks


China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk over tea during a day of meetings in Boston, Massachusetts, Oct. 18, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held what the State Department calls an "unprecedented and substantive" dialogue with a senior Chinese official at Kerry's private home in Boston.

Kerry hosted China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi for two days of very informal but still candid talks on a wide range of issues. They included Ebola, Islamic State, and Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

"There are many issues that China and the United States are cooperating on, even as we have some differences that we try to manage effectively," said Kerry. "And right now, particularly on Ebola, on Afghanistan, on the Democratic Republic of North Korea, the North Korean nuclear situation, on Iran particularly, and on ISIL and counter-terrorism and on climate change. There are many areas where we are working hard."

"I think the Asia Pacific region is a very important region We need to work together to build up even more cooperation between China and the United States in the area because this is an area which has experienced robust economic development and I'm sure that the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting will go further to bring about more connectivity, innovative development and to shape a great future for the region," said Yang Jiechi, Chinese State Councilor.

They also discussed such sensitive matters as human rights, pro-democracy marches in Hong Kong, and U.S. charges of Chinese cyber-spying.

During the informal atmosphere - including dinners and a concert by a Chinese-American harpist - a State Department official said Kerry got a "full and careful" hearing on matters of U.S. concern.

The official said the results of the weekend talks will be incremental and increasingly visible over time.

The Boston talks were aimed at warming U.S.-China ties ahead of next month's summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing. U.S. President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping plan to meet after the summit.