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Clinton to visit China next week: Xinhua

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with her Chinese counterpart next week in a context of increasing tensions over regional territorial issues

AFP , Tuesday 28 Aug 2012
Hillary Clinton
Clinton urges Iran to pursue 'constructive engagement' in international nuclear talks in Geneva (Photo: AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Beijing next week, China's official Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday, amid growing tensions over regional territorial disputes.

Clinton will hold talks with her counterpart Yang Jiechi and other Chinese leaders during the September 4-5 visit, Xinhua said, citing a foreign ministry spokesman.

Her visit comes as tensions rise between China and neighbouring countries -- including key US ally Japan -- over territory in the resource-rich South China Sea, much of which China claims as its own.

The United States is eager to boost diplomatic and military resources in the Asia-Pacific, which it recognises as a key driver in the global economy, as its engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan winds down.

However, some aspects -- such as US plans to deploy 2,500 Marines to northern Australia and boost its naval presence in the Pacific -- have rankled China, which has increased its military spending in recent years.

The visit will be Clinton's first to China since she attended a strategic and economic dialogue in Beijing in May that was largely overshadowed by the flight of the blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng into the US embassy.

Beijing eventually allowed Chen to leave China for the United States, defusing what could have become a nasty diplomatic row.

The top US diplomat will this week attend a regional summit hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a group consisting mainly of small island states, along with resource-rich Papua New Guinea and the dominant regional powers Australia and New Zealand, both US allies.

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