Beijing: A high-powered US Senate delegation led by lawmaker Harry Reid met senior Chinese officials in Beijing on Thursday for talks expected to touch on thorny economic issues and human rights.
The delegation met parliamentary chief Wu Bangguo and Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to succeed President Hu Jintao as China`s top leader by 2013.
On Wednesday, the delegation discussed global security issues, human rights and a range of other subjects with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and central bank head Zhou Xiaochuan, a Senate statement said.
"The relationship between the United States and China is important for our two nations, but it is also important for the world," Reid, the Democratic senate majority leader, said in the statement.
"How the United States and China work together on commerce, currency and clean energy will help determine the future health of the global economy."
Outgoing US ambassador Jon Huntsman, who accompanied the delegation, was singled out for praise by Xi on Thursday.
"You have made unremitting efforts to promote the exchanges between our two people," he told Huntsman.
"Let me express our appreciation for your contributions. We will never forget what you have done."
The delegation includes Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Jeff Merkley and Michael Bennet as well as Republicans Richard Shelby, Mike Enzi, and Johnny Isakson.
They were expected to spend a week in China, and will leave Beijing on Friday for stops in the southwestern city of Chongqing and the ancient Chinese capital of Xian.