US adviser arrives in Beijing for talks

Updated: 2012-07-24 03:37

By Cheng Guangjin in Beijing and Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily)

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The United States National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon will meet with Chinese leaders this week in talks analysts are describing as a "fire extinguisher" for the two countries at loggerheads on a range of international issues.

Donilon was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Monday evening and hold talks on Tuesday with State Councilor Dai Bingguo, one of the highest-ranking figures in Chinese foreign policy, and President Hu Jintao.

On Wednesday, he will meet Vice-Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Caihou, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, who is in charge of economic, energy and financial affairs, and Vice-President Xi Jinping, before continuing his trip to Tokyo.

A statement from the White House said Donilon will discuss "the current and future state of US-China relations" and "cooperation on regional and global challenges of mutual concern including nonproliferation, regional security in Asia and the Middle East, and global economic growth".

Analysts said Iran, Syria, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and China's dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands are also likely to be discussed.

Bonnie Glaser, a Chinese security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said it is important for the US and China to sustain high-level contact. She said these talks are a good opportunity to discuss the bilateral relationship as well as regional and global problems.

"As I recall, Donilon was supposed to visit China last year, the trip was announced and then it was canceled," she said.

"Exchanging views on developments inside North Korea, how to forestall another nuclear test or provocations, and how to promote progress toward denuclearization are all important topics," Glaser said.

"After the veto at the UN by Russia and China, there is no international consensus on how to manage the Syrian issue, so what to do next is also a high priority," she said.

Donilon's visit comes as Syria plunges deeper into violence, with rebels pressing ahead in their fight to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Associated Press reported.

After visiting China Donilon will then travel to Tokyo to consult with senior Japanese officials on US-Japan security cooperation and other bilateral issues, as well as a range of regional and global challenges, according to the White House statement.

"The dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands will be an unavoidable topic during Donilon's talks with Chinese leaders, as it is one of the common concerns of the two countries on the regional security in Asia," Commentator Guan Yao said in an interview on Shenzhen TV.

The US should clarify its strategic intention in claiming that the Diaoyu Islands are covered by the US security treaty with Japan, Guan said.

Guan, however, noted that Donilon's visit will emphasize "seeking cooperation between the two countries" on the issues about which they are both concerned, rather than simply discussing US concerns.

"The broad range of topics that the two sides are expected to discuss shows the width and depth of Sino-US relations and proves that the Sino-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world," said Guan.

Donilon has been US President Barack Obama's national security adviser since October 2010. He visited China in September 2010 when bilateral relations hit a record low over issues including US arms sale to Taiwan, military drills on the Yellow Sea and claims of national interests on the South China Sea.

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