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Geithner to discuss economic relations
2012/01/11

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will arrive in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss economic ties and exchange views with Chinese leaders on the global economic situation.

During his two-day visit, Geithner will meet Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice-President Xi Jinping, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news conference on Monday.

"The global economic and financial situation is facing severe challenges. Further strengthening of China-US economic and trade cooperation will be helpful in meeting these challenges," Liu said.

Analysts said Geithner's visit will be an opportunity for Sino-US relations to regain momentum following Washington's high-profile "return to Asia" in 2011, but it's unlikely Geithner will achieve big breakthroughs in bilateral economic issues and global issues such as the latest sanctions on Iran.

According to a media release on the website of the US Treasury Department on Jan 4, Geithner will highlight issues on his China trip, including the state of the global economy, policies to strengthen global growth and other economic issues of mutual importance.

Geithner will also discuss the US' continued coordination with international partners to increase pressure on the government of Iran, including financial measures targeting the Central Bank of Iran, it said.

Niu Xinchun, a researcher on US studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said in this US election year, the most pressing issue is economic recovery.

Niu said there is no doubt that Geithner will discuss issues such as financial stability, economic rebalancing and trade deficits with the Chinese side, "but the possibility is slim that there will be concrete progress".

But Niu said that sanctions on Iran will be the focus of Geithner's trip.

Washington's tough stance toward Iran comes as the new US defense strategy unveiled on Thursday intends to assert Washington's position in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Associated Press.

The document says the growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions to avoid causing friction in the region, said AP.

"We have noted that the US issued this guide to its defense strategy, and we will closely observe the impact that US military strategic adjustment has on the Asia-Pacific region and on global security developments," said Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng.

" US accusations against China in this document are totally groundless," said Geng, adding that the US should be "careful in its words and actions" and view China and Chinese military in an objective and rational way.

"The strategic objective of Chinese defense and military construction is consistent and clear. China's peaceful development is an opportunity instead of a challenge for international community, including the US," he said.

The new US defense strategy was widely interpreted as an attempt to boost strength in Asia and to counter China's growing power in the region.

Under the new strategy, the US will maintain large bases in Japan and South Korea, and deploy US Marines, navy ships and aircraft to Australia's Northern Territory.

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