South Asia to figure in Sino-US strategic dialogue

China said its strategic dialogue with the US next week would include issues relating to South Asia.

Updated: May 20, 2010, 19:25 PM IST

Beijing: China on Thursday said its strategic
dialogue with the United States here next week would include
issues relating to South Asia, including efforts to "jointly
promote regional peace and stability".

"In the China-US Strategic and Economic dialogue we
will have in-depth exchanges on regional issues," Cui Tiankai,
the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, told a media
briefing here today when asked whether issues relating to
South Asia and that of India and Pakistan would figure in the

"Our purpose is to jointly promote regional peace and
stability and regional development and enhance our friendly
relations with South Asian countries. That is our purpose," he

The Vice Minister said China shares "friendly and
mutually beneficial" relations with the countries of South

"China has friendly and mutually beneficial
cooperation with India, Pakistan and other South Asian
countries," Cui said.

"We have extensive cooperation with South Asian
countries covering wide ranging areas and such relationship
between China and South Asian countries is beneficial for
bilateral relations and beneficial to peace and stability of
South Asia," he said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, heading a
delegation of over 200 members, would hold the second
Strategic and Economic Dialogue with Chinese State Councillor
Dai Bingguo on May 24 and 25. The talks would include issues
relating to the sub-continent.

Observers say Afghanistan and Pakistan may dominate
the discourse on the regional issues as the US, in its
preparatory meetings, had asked Beijing to take more
pro-active role to help stabilise these two countries.

Robert Blake, the US Assistant Secretary for South and
Central Asian Affairs, early this month had said after his
talks with Chinese officials that Washington is seeking to
strike common ground with China on South Asia. He wanted
Beijing to play a bigger role to help stabilise Afghanistan
and Pakistan.

One of Washington`s highest strategic priorities is to
help Afghanistan and Pakistan to disrupt, dismantle, and
defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates entrenched along the two
countries` border, he said.

"This is an interest that China shares with the US and
Pakistan. So we discussed ways that China can coordinate and
contribute to international efforts in these two countries,"
Blake underlined.

China`s plan to build two 650 mw nuclear power plants
in Pakistan was also expected to figure in the talks as
Washington has already said it would like to know from Beijing
how it plans to implement the deal with Islamabad without the
clearance from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the
multi-national body concerned with reducing nuclear
proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of
atomic technology.

The Chinese Vice Minister in his briefing on Thursday
skirted a response to a question linked to its nuclear deal
with Pakistan.

The first US-China strategic talks was held in
Washington last year.

The talks next week would be held in two parts. While
Hillary-Dai talks will focus on strategic issues, US Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang
Qishan would discuss the issues relating to economic and trade
issues, including Washington?s key demand to let Chinese
currency Yuan appreciate against the dollar.