Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week to lay the ground for Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington on January 19 and to advance their discussions on the North Korean crisis.

Mr. Yang, who also met U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, said in joint remarks with Ms. Clinton on Wednesday that Mr. Hu's visit would occur against the backdrop of an “ever-evolving international situation”.

The remarks were said to be a reference to tensions between North and South Korea, which escalated after an exchange of artillery fire in November led to civilian casualties on Yeonpyeong Island near the countries' shared border.

Ms. Clinton said during the briefing that she felt “a great sense of responsibility to ensure that it continues the positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship between our two countries”.

Trade imbalance

Regarding the meeting between Mr. Yang and Mr. Donilon, the White House said Mr. Donilon had “stressed the importance of effective efforts to reduce imbalances in both the global economy as well as in U.S.-China trade”.

The two officials also touched upon ways to advance non-proliferation objectives, including issues relating to Iran and North Korea. They also agreed on the importance of ensuring that the referendum on southern Sudan proceeds peacefully.

State Department spokesman, Philip Crowley, was quoted in media as expressing hope that China and the U.S. would “reach agreement on addressing the crisis”, during Mr. Hu's visit to Washington.

Keywords: U.S.-China ties

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