U.S., China to work together

BEIJING, JULY 12. Despite deep discord over Taiwan and missile defence shields, China and the U.S. stressed cooperation today during the U.S. Defence Secretary, Mr. William Cohen's first visit to Beijing in more than two years.

``We agreed that the region and the world are more stable when the United States and China work together to solve problems,'' Mr. Cohen said.

``Though we may disagree on some issues, we benefit from this opportunity to explain our disagreements and to build on the areas, which are many, on which we agree,'' he added.

The Chinese Defence Minister, Mr. Chi Haotian, said Beijing believed common interests outweighed differences, as the Cohen visit put back on track a military dialogue which had been frozen since May 1999 when NATO bombs destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

But the contentious issues of Taiwan, the U.S. National Missile Defence plan and arms proliferation lurked beneath the affable surface.

China has been vocal in its opposition to the U.S. plans for the NMD to protect vulnerable parts of the country from long-range missiles and a Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) system for its troops and allies in Asia.

It fears - and the U.S. arms control official, Mr. John Holum, confirmed last weekend such fears were not unfounded - that arch- rival Taiwan would be brought under the TMD's protective umbrella. Mr. Cohen told reporters he tried to reassure Mr. Chi that the NMD was not directed against China.

- Reuters