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Tags: china | US | fences | diplomatic

China Demands U.S. Mend Diplomatic Fences

Monday, 08 March 2010 10:53 AM

BEIJING — China has blamed the United States for causing "serious disturbances" in their relationship but also called for the two Pacific powers to work together to get ties back on track.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reiterated China's criticism of US arms sales to Taiwan and President Barack Obama's meeting last month with the Dalai Lama but appeared to leave the door open for the two sides to mend fences.

"The United States should properly handle the relevant sensitive issues and work with the Chinese side to return the China-US relationship to a track of stable development," Yang told reporters.

Stressing that a harmonious relationship was vital to both sides and to the world, he added "we hope the United States will work with us in a joint effort toward this end."

Yang was speaking in his annual press briefing held on the sidelines of China's March 5-14 parliament session, and his comments come with Sino-US relations at a low point.

The US announced it January it would go ahead with a 6.4-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan despite warnings by China, which had also urged Obama not to meet the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader at the White House.

The two sides also are at odds over Google's announcement that it may pull out of China altogether over web censorship and cyberattacks, plus a number of trade issues.

Yang repeated China's assertion that the troubles were the United States's fault and called for "credible steps" by Washington to mend ties. However, he gave no specifics and unveiled no new retaliatory steps.

China had earlier said it was cutting off military contacts over the Taiwan arms issue.

Taiwan and China have been governed separately since a civil war ended in 1949 but Beijing considers the island part of its territory. China views the Dalai Lama as a separatist seeking an independent Tibet, which he denies.

The Sino-US enmity has emerged just as the United States and other world powers seek Chinese support for pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.

Yang repeated Beijing's position that a resolution of the Iran nuclear issue must be achieved through talks, not sanctions.

"Frankly speaking, present efforts to settle the Iranian nuclear issue face some difficulties, but we don't think diplomatic efforts have been exhausted," he said.

"As everyone knows, pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve this issue."

The five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany have held protracted talks with Iran on its atomic programme, which the West says is a covert weapons drive.

The US and others have stepped up calls for tougher action.

Beijing has a long history of opposing or watering down sanctions against Iran, a key supplier of energy for the Chinese economy.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, 08 March 2010 10:53 AM
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