China foreign ministry report sees stable US ties-media

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BEIJING, Sep 16 (Reuters) China's relations with the United States were stable in the past year, with some ''major'' advances, according to a Foreign Ministry report, but frictions remain over Taiwan and trade, state media reported today.

Media reports gave few specific details from the annual diplomatic white paper, to be released by the Foreign Ministry in full next week, and did not elaborate on what Beijing considered ''major'' advancements in relations with Washington.

The Beijing News said the white paper criticised Washington's ''interference'' in domestic issues involving human rights, religion, the Dalai Lama and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po newspaper said the report also criticised Washington for selling advanced submarine and anti-missile systems to Taiwan. It added that Beijing opposed congressional measures in support of Taiwan.

Washington was sending ''wrong signals'' to those in Taiwan who favour independence, ''damaging'' Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the newspaper said, citing the white paper.

The report also noted improvement in diplomatic relations with Japan, saying the two countries ended a five-year political deadlock with the October visit to Beijing by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It said that visit set the countries on course for a ''normal development track''. But Abe's abrupt decision last week to resign raises questions about whether the thaw in ties will continue under his successor.

Beijing urged further progress between the Asian neighbours over territorial disputes in the East China Sea, according to the accounts.

Ties between the United States and China have been strained in the past year due to economic and trade policies as well, with disputes over violations of intellectual property rights, currency policy and trade between the world's largest and fourth-largest economies.

For instance, Washington accuses Beijing of keeping its currency unfairly undervalued, contributing to a ballooning in its trade surplus with the US.

Recently, China's weak product safety protections have also come under fire in the United States, after a range of China-made products, from toothpaste to toys to pet food, have been found to be substandard or to pose health hazards.

Beijing insists the vast majority of its products are safe and has accused critics of politicising the issue.

REUTERS SW PM1405

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