BEIJING - China and the UK pledged on Tuesday to not let differences come in the way of strategic ties, after constructive talks were held in the capital between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his British counterpart David Miliband on issues ranging from economic cooperation to Iran's nuclear program.
The visiting British foreign secretary said he had come to China seeking partnership to combat common challenges. He said the visit had underlined the breadth and depth of the relationship.
Miliband, however, acknowledged that there were areas of disagreement. "It is important that (when) there are disagreements we don't hide them and that is what it means to be in an effective modern partnership," he said.
Yang called for the two sides to step up cooperation in the fields of financial services, alternative energy and environmental protection.
He also agreed to treat differences on the basis of mutual respect and in an equal footing in order to push bilateral ties in a positive direction. Yang also said Beijing was ready to talk about human rights issues with Western nations.
Miliband, on his part, refused to refer to China as the European Union's political competitor. Britain will urge the EU to further develop the strategic partnership, he said, and hoped the partnership would help in better dealing with global issues such as climate change.
On the Iran issue, Yang said China was becoming more concerned but reiterated that sanctions were not the "solution". Yang made the remarks after his talks with Miliband. It is believed that the Teheran situation was one of the key topics of their discussion.
"I have said before that sanctions do not provide a fundamental solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, ultimately this issue has to be resolved through peaceful negotiations," Yang said.
China would continue to push for more constructive measures that will prevent further deterioration of the situation, Yang said.
Being a permanent member of the Security Council, China will continue to "keep close contacts with the relevant parties to bring about a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue", he said.
"We have a shared goal (on the Iranian nuclear issue) and we are committed to the multilateral system," Miliband said.
The former Chinese ambassador to Britain Ma Zhengang said the two sides have considered the big picture while pushing bilateral ties and that Miliband's visit would further enhance cooperation. Miliband also met Premier Wen Jiabao, and State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Tuesday.