May 1, 2009 / 4:07 PM / 10 years ago

China wants closer US relation, but not G2-official

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - China has gotten off to a good start with the Obama administration and wants deeper bilateral cooperation, but is not interested in a “G2” arrangement by which Beijing and Washington shape the global economy, a senior Chinese spokesman said on Friday.

Wu Jianmin, president emeritus of China’s Foreign affairs University and a former top Foreign Ministry official, said the “the Chinese are very pleased” at a relatively hiccup-free relationship with Washington 100 days into the Obama era.

“The Obama administration succeeded in avoiding some uncertainties (like) at the beginning of the past administrations,” he said, referring to Barack Obama’s predecessor’s spats with Beijing over Taiwan and other issues.

Although the two powers had a brief naval confrontation near China in March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited China early this year, and Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao met in London last month and launched a senior dialogue forum.

The G2 idea floated by some U.S. scholars as a way for the two important economies to tackle the global economic crisis does not appeal to China, which sees the concept mainly as a “wish to strengthen U.S.-China cooperation,” said Wu.

“We look for a sort of a multilateral world, based on the international rule of law,” he said.

“When you mention leadership, you scare Chinese, because in the eyes of the Chinese, leadership equates (with) hegemony,” Wu told reporters in Washington.

China however welcomes the increased role it and other big developing countries enjoy in global economic affairs through the G20 gathering of industrialized and emerging economies, Wu said.

“Today the G7 is irrelevant. We need a larger grouping, a larger architecture,” he said of the traditional seven-power industrialized grouping that met to manage the world economy.

Reporting by Paul Eckert, Editing by Sandra Maler

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