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US hopes for 'constructive' ties with new China leader

November 15, 2012

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping emerges as the head of the newly reshuffled seven member Communist Party of China Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision making body at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. -AFP Photo

WASHINGTON: The United States voiced hope Thursday that China would play a greater role solving global problems as it said it expected a “constructive” relationship with Beijing's new leaders.

Hours after China unveiled a new leadership team headed by Xi Jinping, US national security adviser Tom Donilon said that President Barack Obama would keep the relationship with China as a priority as he enters his second term.

“I think we have put in place the mechanisms to have a productive and constructive relationship and look forward to working with the new leadership team in Beijing,” Donilon said.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Donilon renewed US calls for China to play a role commensurate with its growing size and said Beijing's leadership was critical on issues such as North Korea, Iran, climate change and the global economy.

“The US-China relationship of course has elements of both cooperation and competition. Our consistent policy has been to seek to balance these elements in a way that increases the quality and quantity of our cooperation with China as well as our (ability) to compete,” he said.

“We seek to manage disagreements and competition in a healthy, not disruptive manner. And doing so means encouraging Beijing to define its national interests more in terms of common global concerns and to take responsibility for helping the international community address global problems,” he said.

Donilon, considered a dark-horse candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has been a key architect of Obama's policy on China.

The Obama administration in the past two years has put a priority on reaching out to Xi, who is China's vice president and will succeed President Hu Jintao when the rubber-stamp legislature confirms the appointment in March.

“We worked well with the previous leadership team, and we look forward to working with the new Chinese leadership,” confirmed deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

“We're committed to building a cooperative partnership with China,” he said, adding “we want to cooperate on regional and global issues, and we want to deepen our people-to-people ties. And we want to obviously encourage progress on human rights.”