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U.S., China to resume human rights dialogue

BEIJING, JULY 28. The United States Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, today announced after meeting China's leadership that the two countries would resume a human rights dialogue broken off when U.S. jets on a NATO mission bombed Beijing's embassy in Belgrade in May, 1999.

``I am pleased that our two countries will be resuming our dialogue on human rights in the coming months,'' Gen. Powell told a news conference after talks with the Chinese President, Mr. Jiang Zemin, and other top officials.

``The dialogue will begin with immediate conversations between the Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Lorne Craner, who has responsibility for this area, who is travelling with me and participated in all the meetings today,'' he added.

``I introduced him to the leaders in every single meeting and he will begin discussions regularly leading up to more formal discussions later in the year,'' Gen. Powell said. Gen. Powell said he did not raise specific cases of any detainees such as the three U.S.-linked scholars expelled this week.

Earlier, Gen. Powell, held official talks with his Chinese counterpart, Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, during which the two sides reached agreements in principle on several issues, including non- proliferation.

China and the U.S. agreed in principle to hold an expert consultation on non-proliferation, and details would be discussed through diplomatic channels, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr. Sun Yuxi, said.

This follows severe pressure from Washington on China's non- proliferation track record, especially violation of its commitments under a Sino-U.S. agreement in November, 2000 in which China had agreed not to assist other countries such as Pakistan in developing nuclear missiles and delivery systems.

Mr. Sun asserted that China had not violated any commitments made to the international community on arms control and missile proliferation.

Mr. Tang and Gen. Powell also agreed in principle to hold a special meeting on enhancing consultation mechanism on military maritime safety in August to avoid military incidents involving the armed forces of the two countries such as the April one mid- air collision of a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet that rocked bilateral ties.

- Reuters, PTI

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