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Clinton Calls For Stronger China Ties

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing
On her first overseas tour as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has said that the United States wants to "deepen and broaden" its relationship with China.

Speaking at a news conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing on February 21, Clinton said cooperation between the United States and China on global issues such as the economy, climate change, and security issues including North Korea was "imperative."

Clinton said the United States and China were facing "a series of major and pressing" challenges that require the two countries to work together to elevate their relationship to "a new level."

"There is no doubt that world events have given us a full and formidable agenda. And as we tackle it, the United States is committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative relationship with China, one that we believe is important with the future of peace, progress, and prosperity for both countries and for the world," Clinton said.

On the economy, Yang said both sides had agreed to take steps to tackle the financial crisis and reject protectionism.

Meanwhile Clinton sought to reassure China that its massive holdings of U.S. treasury notes would remain a good investment.

The United States is one of the largest buyers of Chinese exports, while China is the world's largest holder of U.S. government debt.

Clinton also said she had held candid discussions on the issue of human rights with Yang.

"In engaging China on a broad range of challenges we will have frank discussions on issues where we have disagreements, including human rights, Tibet, religious freedom, and freedom of expression," Clinton said.

"The promotion of human rights is an essential aspect of our global foreign policy and something we discuss candidly with the Chinese leadership."

Before arriving in Beijing, Clinton said the debate with China over human rights, Taiwan, and Tibet "can't interfere" with attempts to reach consensus on broader issues.

After touring today a low-emissions heat and power plant in Beijing, Clinton stressed the importance of dealing with climate change.

"The United States and certainly the Obama administration, we want China to grow. We want the Chinese people to have a very good standard of living. What we hope is that you won't make the same mistakes we made because I don't think either China or the world can afford that."

China has overtaken the United States as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, which are widely considered to be responsible for global warming.

Clinton also met President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as part of her final stop on a weeklong Asian trip that has also taken her to Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea.