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US, Chinese Diplomats Hold Candid Talks06/06 06:16

   Senior U.S. and Chinese diplomats held "candid and productive" talks in 
Beijing and agreed to keep open lines of communication to avoid tensions from 
spiraling into conflict, officials said Tuesday.

   TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Senior U.S. and Chinese diplomats held "candid and 
productive" talks in Beijing and agreed to keep open lines of communication to 
avoid tensions from spiraling into conflict, officials said Tuesday.

   Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and 
Pacific affairs, was the most senior U.S. official confirmed to have visited 
China on Monday since tensions between Washington and Beijing soared over the 
shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon over the U.S. in early February.

   U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the time postponed a planned trip 
to China, and Beijing has since largely rebuffed attempts at official 
exchanges, though two top U.S. and Chinese defense officials briefly interacted 
at a forum in Singapore over the weekend.

   China's Foreign Ministry said Kritenbrink and Vice Foreign Minister Ma 
Zhaoxu "had candid, constructive and fruitful communication on promoting the 
improvement of China-U.S. relations and properly managing differences."

   Beijing said it had stated its "solemn position on Taiwan" -- a self-ruled 
island China claims as its territory to be annexed by force if necessary -- and 
other issues and that the two sides had agreed to maintain communication.

   The U.S. State Department also said the two officials held "candid and 
productive discussions as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of 
communication and build on recent high-level diplomacy between the two 
countries."

   The U.S. Navy on Sunday complained about an "unsafe interaction" in the 
Taiwan Strait, after a Chinese warship came within 150 yards (137 meters) of a 
U.S. destroyer. And last month, a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to 
a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea, where Beijing shares 
overlapping territorial claims with other nations.

   CIA Director William Burns last month reportedly took a secret trip to 
Beijing in another sign the two sides are interested in restoring communication 
through various channels.

 
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