Powell calls China visit 'very productive'
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented a collegial image of U.S.-China relations after a daylong visit Saturday with China's top leadership, which he described as "very productive."
"I think we moved the ball forward," Powell said. "There (were) still some outstanding issues to be resolved and some places that we don't have full agreement."
Two key issues that Powell discussed with Chinese leaders, including President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji, were China's human rights record and allegations that the country violated a treaty with the United States by exporting nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Beijing refused to accept the allegations that China has exported materials to countries such as Iran and Pakistan. China signed an agreement with the United States in November stating it would not export any missiles or components to other countries, and Powell said the United States has evidence that China has violated that treaty.
Before Powell's visit, China agreed to release two U.S.-based scholars who were detained in China in an attempt to smooth over bilateral relations.
"After a period of difficulty, now we are witnessing significant momentum," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi.
Groundwork for Bush trip
The Chinese leaders said they agreed to look forward and not to the past, putting the April 1 collision between a U.S. reconnaissance plane and a Chinese military aircraft behind them. The collision forced the U.S. plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island, where the crew was held for 11 days.
China agreed to hold missile talks with the United States in the near future, Powell said. The Chinese leadership also assured Powell they would continue to have dialogue with Washington on human rights.
Powell assured the leaders that U.S. plans to create a missile defense system were not intended to threaten China. China has fewer than two dozen ballistic missiles and believes a U.S. missile defense program would nullify its arsenal.
Powell said his trip laid the groundwork for an upcoming visit from President George W. Bush.
"I will be back, of course, with the president this fall," Powell said, "and I might say that the president is very much looking forward to this."
After leaving China, Powell headed for Australia where he will meet up with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and hold talks with their Australian counterparts on defense issues.
The country's conservative government has defended both Bush's plans to build a missile defense system and his rejection of the Kyoto environmental treaty.
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