Hillary arrives in Beijing for crucial talks
Beijing: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived here on Tuesday for a two-day visit to China to discuss a host of issues specially the South China Sea disputes between Beijing and its neighbours as well as growing Sino-Japan discord over disputed islands.
During her stay in Beijing, Clinton will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice President Xi Jinping and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, besides holding talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
This is Clinton's second trip to China this year. In May, she attended the fourth round of the China-US strategic and Economic Dialogue. The visit is part of Clinton's six-nation tour, which started on August 30.
She arrived from Indonesia where she said the South China Sea disputes between China and neighbours "must be resolved peacefully and also by diplomatic means, based on the principles of international law and the Law of the Sea".
"I believe both sides recognise the importance of making further progress on the what is called code of conduct on the South China Sea," she said.
China which is already concerned about US-Asia Pivot policy which envisages deployment of over 60 per cent US forces in the region resents outside interference in resolving the South China Sea disputes between it and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
Ahead of her arrival, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here today that United States should make greater efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
"We have taken note of the US side's refusal to take a position on the South China Sea issue. We hope the U S side will keep its commitment and make efforts that help, rather than harm, regional peace and stability," Hong said.
Hong said the South China Sea issue is complicated and different countries have different understandings, concerns and interests regarding the issue.
"China holds that all the parties concerned should effectively implement and abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and enhance cooperation and mutual trust to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, rather than take any action that could complicate and escalate the situation," Hong said.
Also the China-Japan differences of Diaoyu islands, called Senkaku islands by Japan also expected to figure in the talks. China is asserting that the islands issue should not be brought under the purview of US-Japan Defence Treaty and should be treated as a bilateral issue between Beijing and Tokyo.
US asserts neutrality on the issue but at the same maintains that Japan's security and sovereignty were covered by the treaty. The islands in the East China Sea are currently administered by Japan.