The top US diplomat acknowledged at the start of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the two sides have "disagreed sharply" over the global response to Syria's use of chemical arms. (Agencies)
In the past Beijing has blocked resolutions at the UN Security Council seeking to condemn the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the brutal civil war now in its third year.
But Wang said he was ready for "in-depth" talks on all issues, including Syria, "with an open mind." Beijing has already welcomed a Russian-US framework hammered out in Geneva last week under which Assad would surrender his chemical weapons stockpile to international control.
"While we appreciate China's support for a political solution -- the only solution we believe is ultimately available and possible -- we do have differences between our nations and have disagreed sharply over how the international community should respond to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons," Kerry said as the two men began their talks at the State Department.
"With negotiations ongoing at the Security Council, we look forward to China playing a positive, constructive, important role." Wang replied that Beijing believed the framework deal need to be approved by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
"At the same time the Security Council of the United Nations also needs to recognize and support this decision," he stressed. "Ultimately, the issue of Syria needs to be resolved through political means. The Chinese side will continue to play its positive and constructive role in that direction."
The two ministers were also to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea and ways to re-launch the stalled six-party talks.
The top US diplomat acknowledged at the start of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the two sides have "disagreed sharply" over the global response to Syria's use of chemical arms.