Human rights violations in Tibet, arrests of activists and the issue of Internet freedom figured prominently during two-days of "candid" dialogue between the US and China, officials said.
The two-day US-China Human Rights Dialogue ended yesterday, but US officials were reluctant to air publicly their differences with China on human rights issues fearing that might jeopardise such meetings in the future.
"What I am pleased about is that we had a good two days of discussions, respectful in tone, and at the same time, direct in content," said Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael H Posner at the conclusion of the meeting.
Posner said there was a range of issues, where the US and China can work together, but also a number of differences.
"Those differences were very clear. They were very plainly expressed... We laid a foundation to continue those discussions and we will continue them," he said.
"There are a range of things that we said and discussed that need to be said, and we did say in, again, a respectful but direct way," he said.
The two countries agreed to continue the discussions in a variety of fora, including a legal expert's dialogue and agreed to set the dates and agenda to restart the discussions.
"We also agreed to a next round of this dialogue to be held in China in 2011, and we are discussing further expert discussions both on religious freedom issues and on labour," he said.
Posner, who is planning to visit Beijing next week, said the idea was how to find ways to work together on areas of potential mutual benefit, and how to find a way to address and mitigate the differences.
"The tone of this is real important. And it was important to me, as much as a lot of the things we were saying express very serious concerns about very real issues.
"The tone of the discussion was very much we're two powerful, great countries, we have a range of issues that we are engaged with - on, human rights is part of that discussion, and it's going to remain so.
"We're going to continue to press on the things that we hold dear," he said.