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WASHINGTON, March 22 The White House voiced
regret on Monday at a disagreement between Google Inc (GOOG.O)
and the Chinese government that prompted Google to move its
Internet search service offshore to Hong Kong.
"We are disappointed that Google and the Chinese government
were unable to reach an agreement that would allow Google to
continue operating its search services in China on its
google.cn Website," said Mike Hammer, spokesman for President
Barack Obama's National Security Council.
"National Security staff was informed by Google shortly
before their announcement was made. Google made its decision
based on what it believed was in its interest," he said.
Google earlier announced traffic to its mainland Chinese
search site google.cn was being redirected to google.com.hk,
following unsuccessful talks with Beijing about operating an
uncensored search engine in the country.
The move comes amid heightened tensions between China and
the United States over a range of issues including Internet
freedom, the yuan exchange rate against the dollar, sanctions
against Iran's nuclear program, and U.S. weapons sales to
Hammer said the United States opposes censorship and is
committed to Internet freedom, but stressed that the White
House did not anticipate this issue would cloud relations
between the two nations in other areas.
"The U.S.-China relationship is mature enough to sustain
differences, and while we seek to expand cooperation on issues
of mutual interest with China, we will candidly and frankly
address areas of disagreement," he said.
(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Stacey Joyce)