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'US attaches importance to both India, China'

Describing India and China as "two significant powers in the region" and emerging global powers, the US has said that it attaches importance to both countries not only in terms of regional issues, but global issues.

world Updated: Nov 11, 2009 14:03 IST

Describing India and China as "two significant powers in the region" and emerging global powers, the US has said that it attaches importance to both countries not only in terms of regional issues, but global issues.

"Obviously, as you look at the Asia Pacific region, two significant powers in the region, with China on the one hand, India on the other hand," State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley told reporters Tuesday.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "will be deeply engaged in discussions in the region", he said.

Asked if reported tension between India and China would come up during Obama's nine-day trip to the region starting Thursday that will take him to Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, he said Obama and Clinton "will have discussions with Chinese leaders".

Later this month, Obama and Clinton "look forward to welcoming the prime minister for an official visit", Crowley said, referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's upcoming first state visit to the US.

"It reflects the importance that we attach to both countries not only in terms of regional issues, but global issues," he said. "And we think they are emerging global powers, and that's why we have focused great energy and attention on developing strong relationships with both."

In reply to another question Crowley confirmed a team from US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke's office was in Beijing for discussions with Chinese officials on both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Obviously, when the Secretary was in Pakistan, we were looking at how these countries fit in a broader regional context. And China has an interest in what happens in both countries, and I think we're there to help explain what our policies are and seek their input on the way forward."

Throughout the Asia trip Obama will emphasise the importance of Asian nations as vital US partners on major issues such as economic growth, nuclear non-proliferation, the war in Afghanistan and climate change, three officials said in a briefing this week.

The itinerary includes formal talks with Asian leaders as a group and individually, a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the first participation by a US president in a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic alliance.