US strikes conciliatory tone for smoother ties.
The United States has struck placatory notes after months of tensions in its relations with China, with President Barack Obama stressing the need for the two powers to "work together" on critical global issues.
During a Monday meeting with Zhang Yesui, Beijing's new ambassador to Washington, Obama said the US wanted to "further develop" a positive relationship with China, the White House said.
Obama "also stressed the need for the United States and China to work together and with the international community on critical global issues including non-proliferation and pursuing sustained and balanced global growth," said the statement issued by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Zhang also met US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who speaking at a briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, reiterated the US' stance on one China.
The position is "unchanged, it serves us very well. We have consistently through Democratic and Republican administrations understood those agreements and principles be the foundation of building an ever stronger relationship (with China)," Steinberg said.
He said that in recent months, there has been speculation about a change in the US-China relationship because of differences between the two sides on issues related to Taiwan and Tibet as well as economic and trade policy.
Steinberg said his trip to China earlier this month provided a chance for both sides to discuss how to build on strong bilateral dialogue to manage the differences.
Beijing on Tuesday welcomed Washington's call for smoother ties.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said "China appreciates President Obama's and Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg's positive stance on promoting China-US relations".
Qin said China "takes seriously the US' reiteration of its principled commitments on the Taiwan and Tibet issues".
Since the start of the year, bilateral relations have nose-dived, mainly due to US weapons sales to Taiwan and Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama. They were further strained by Washington's criticisms over Beijing's controls on the Internet and US demands that China revalue its currency. Many US lawmakers complain that China is keeping the yuan undervalued to give its exports an unfair competitive edge.
"Recently, there have been setbacks in China-US relations, and this does not suit our common interests," Qin said.
"Healthy Sino-US relations suit the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples," he said.
Analysts said Obama's remarks signal that strained ties are on the mend.
Yuan Peng, head of US studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, described the souring of bilateral ties during the past months as "a disharmonious episode".
"Although the two powers have disagreements, they know they need each other," he said.
He said Obama's remarks reflect that "Washington has realized the importance of cooperating with China".
The two countries need to further increase political trust, he said, adding that "Beijing has responded to the US actively".
Tao Wenzhao, an expert on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
urged the two sides to overcome obstacles and value the hard-won achievements in relations.
Shen Dingli, professor at Shanghai-based Fudan University, urged the US to "stop interfering in China's internal affairs" to move the relationship forward.
The US remarks come a fortnight ahead of a US-hosted international summit on nuclear security.
China has yet to announce who will attend the summit, raising speculation that it wants to snub Washington for the recent disputes.
But in a positive note, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that China agrees Iran must not become a nuclear weapons power and that the fellow Security
Council member will play a role in forging sanctions against the Islamic republic at the United Nations.
In the Canadian capital for a meeting of top diplomats from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, Clinton said that despite China's general opposition to international sanctions, it will contribute to the process at the UN.
Qin also said the government opposes Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, but stopped short of backing new sanctions on Teheran that Washington has urged.
"China opposes Iran possessing nuclear weapons, but at the same time we believe that, as a sovereign state, Iran has the right to peacefully develop nuclear energy," Qin said.
(Source from China daily)