Chinese president pledges steps to ease US frictions

President Hu Jintao acknowledged U.S.-Chinese trade frictions on Tuesday meeting with President George W. Bush and promised to try to ease a trade imbalance that is of growing concern in Washington.

"What I would like to stress here is that China does not pursue a huge trade surplus with the United States and we're willing to work with the United States to take effective measures to increase China's imports from the United States," Hu said at the start of a meeting with Bush.

The talks, arranged after Bush canceled a high-profile visit to the White House by Hu because of Hurricane Katrina, covered the gamut of U.S.-Chinese relations, including the vexed issue of human rights.

Bush had an aide hand the Chinese side a list of specific human rights and religious freedom cases of concern to the United States during the encounter.

A senior U.S. official, Asian expert Michael Green of the White House National Security Council, would not give details of the list, saying the United States hoped to work with the Chinese quietly to resolve the cases, reports Reuters.

According to CNN, Appearing with Bush after the meeting, Hu said the Chinese "have always stood for a nuclear-weapon-free Korean peninsula ... stood for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through dialogue, and stood for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia as a whole."

"We stand ready to step up our communication and cooperation with the United States," he said.

Bush and Hu also had a "positive" discussion about how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, Green said.

However, Bush did not directly ask his Chinese counterpart for support if Iran was referred to the U.N. Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency for possible sanctions for failing to abide by international nuclear agreements, Green said.

"What (Hu) emphasized is that China is urging Iran, for the peace and stability of the region and the world, and consistent with China's own commitment to non-proliferation, to abide by its obligations under the IAEA," Green said.

"The president asked for China's help in the full range of diplomatic operations that we may choose to bring this to a successful resolution."

As one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, China has the ability to block any imposition of sanctions on Iran by using its veto.

Photo: the AP

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