China and US presidents speak on phone about improving ties

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Dec 07, 2007

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart, George W. Bush, spoke on the phone about building closer bilateral ties and resolving global disputes such as Iran, China said Friday.

The pair spoke on Thursday, covering a range of topics that included the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues, as well as Taiwan, the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

"China is willing to make efforts with the US to push forward dialogue and reach more consensus and achievements so as to make more contributions on pushing forward Sino-US constructive cooperation," the ministry quoted Hu as saying.

Bush also spoke about building stronger bilateral ties.

"US-China relations are very important and the US places a lot of importance on this," the ministry quoted Bush as saying.

Both leaders spoke about ways to end the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme.

"The US hopes to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means and hopes that the United Nations can continue to adopt the needed actions to push Iran to end its uranium enrichment activities," it quoted Bush as saying.

Hu said China was willing to continue to play a constructive role in the "appropriate" resolution of the Iranian issue, the ministry said.

"China's consistent position is to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations, maintain regional peace and stability conforms to the common interests of all sides," Hu said.

Both leaders praised recent progress on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, with Bush citing Beijing's "important role" as hosts of the six-party talks that also include the two Koreas, Japan and Russia.