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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China leader warns US on Tibet, Taiwan

January 24, 2011

(AFP) – January 20, 2011

WASHINGTON — Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday warned the United
States to respect Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan and Tibet but
assured that his country had no interest in engaging in an arms race.

Hu repeatedly urged "mutual respect" and cooperation between the Pacific
powers as he delivered a policy speech on a state visit in which his
hosts have repeatedly pressed him about human rights.

At a luncheon with senior US officials and business leaders, Hu said
that Taiwan and Tibet "concern China's sovereignty and territorial
integrity and they represent China's core interests."

"A review of the history of our relations tells us that US-China
relations will enjoy smooth and steady growth when the two countries
handle well issues involving each other's major interests," Hu said.

"Otherwise our relations will suffer constant trouble or even tension,"
he warned.

President Barack Obama, at a joint news conference with Hu on Wednesday,
had urged China to engage in talks with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled
spiritual leader, although he reaffirmed the US view that the Himalayan
territory is part of China.

The United States and its allies, particularly Japan, have repeatedly
voiced concern about China's double-digit growth of military spending.
China tested a stealth fighter this month just as US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates visited.

Hu dismissed concerns, saying: "We do not engage in arms races or pose a
military threat to any country. China will never seek hegemony or pursue
an expansionist policy."

However, much of Hu's speech was conciliatory. He urged cooperation
between the world's largest developed and developing nations on issues
from reviving the moribund Doha trade liberalization talks to fighting
climate change.

"China and the United States should pursue global cooperation as
partners to fulfill common responsibilities and meet common challenges,"
Hu said.

He also said China sought to work with the United States around Asia,
despite growing concerns in Japan and Southeast Asian nations about
Chinese assertiveness in recent months over myriad territorial disputes.

"We should stay committed to promoting peace, stability and prosperity
in the Asia-Pacific region, engage in open and inclusive regional
cooperation and turn the Asia-Pacific into an important region where
China and the United States work closely together on the basis of mutual
respect," Hu said.

The leader of the world's most populous nation also hit back at the sour
US mood over China's economic clout. Hu met earlier Thursday with US
lawmakers, many of whom accuse China of killing American manufacturing
jobs by keeping its currency artificially low.

Hu, citing an unspecified study, said that "quality yet inexpensive
products" from China have saved US consumers 600 billion dollars over
the past 10 years.

In China, more than 70 percent of US companies stayed profitable even
during the worst of the global economic crisis, Hu said.

"The China-US relationship is not one in which one side's gain means the
other one's loss," Hu said.
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