US, China hail warmer relationship

BEIJING, September  6, 2010 (AFP) - Chinese and US officials congratulated each other Monday on a warming of ties between the two powers, after relations were strained earlier this year.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan said he was looking forward to discussing China-US ties in trade, investment and finance in talks with US Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon and US National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers.

Summers said US President Barack Obama had emphasised "the importance he attaches to a very strong relationship between the United States and China, and to President Hu's upcoming visit to the United States".

"I think we all benefit from candid conversation that enables us both to understand each other's thinking," Summers said, before the two sides began closed-door talks.

Wang's comments came after Li Yuanchao, a top official with the ruling Communist Party, said China-US relations were back on track after being waylaid by difficulties earlier this year.

"Although there were some disturbances in China-US relations... relations have gotten back on a sound track," Li told the visiting Americans.

Neither side has offered detailed information on the purpose of the four-day visit or what was to be discussed.

However officials from the two sides have met recently about the possibility of resuming six-nation negotiations on ridding North Korea of its nuclear programmes.

Tensions spiked this year over issues including a US arms sale to Taiwan, a meeting in February between President Barack Obama and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and trade disputes.

However the temperature has cooled considerably in recent months following several high-level meetings of the two sides, including between Obama and President Hu Jintao.

The two White House officials also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.