Deeper US-China ties: US lawmakers

WASHINGTON: China-bound US lawmakers said Friday that their visit aimed to deepen cooperation on pulling the world economy out of its slump and to ease any worries about investments in sky-rocketing US debt.

Democratic Representative Rick Larsen and Republican Representative Mark Kirk, the co-chairs of the congressional US-China Working Group, arrive at their first stop, Hong Kong, on Monday.

In separate interviews with AFP, Larsen and Kirk said they would hold talks with officials and business leaders to seek ways to enhance Sino-US cooperation on reviving the global economy and to deepen diplomatic and business relations.

"The focus of the trip is principally on the economy, and how the United States and China, through joint action, can improve each other's prospects," said Kirk, whose home state is Illinois.

"I think if it's done well, with the US leading the developed world and China leading in the developing world, it can help bring others along," said Larsen, who hails from Washington state, a major entry point for Chinese goods.

The delegation will visit Hong Kong to assess on the global downturn's impact on the financial services sector; hard-hit Guangzhou province to see the response to rising unemployment; Shanghai to appraise the state of Chinese manufacturing; and Beijing for talks with government officials.

"We'll be looking at their stimulus measures versus ours, and how the Chinese government is responding, quite frankly, to unemployment in their country," said Kirk.

The lawmakers said they also expected to discuss irritants in the US-China relationship, such as the Chinese black-market for US goods like movies, as well as the human rights picture ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.