Washington: Describing India, China and the US as the "three great States" of 21st century, a top American official has said it is absolutely critical for these countries to begin closer consultations, but asserted that all players need to be comfortable with such a set of interaction.

Besides, Washington is pushing for a meeting involving the US, Japan and China, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, said.

The United States is in active consultation with China on these two trilateral dialogues -- US-India-China and US-Japan-China, he said.

"... we are in active consultations with Chinese friends on a number of smaller meetings that include them. For instance, we have talked for years about the prospects of a meeting between the United States, Japan and China. Something that we would support," the top American diplomat said ahead of the inaugural trilateral meeting of India, US and Japan here on December 19.

"But as importantly, we believe that it is absolutely critical that the three great States of the 21st century -- United States, China and India -- begin closer consultations as well. So we see none of these venues as in any way exclusive or exclusionary... We are interested in supporting a range of interlocking, overlapping dialogues in Asia going forward," Campbell said.

Both the US and India are open to the idea of trilateral dialogue with China, he said, adding that all the three countries need to be comfortable with this, before it could make any progress. "We have to ensure that all players would be comfortable with such a set of interaction."

"I just want to make it clear that we would be open to it," Campbell said.

Asked if China is opposed to this idea of a trilateral dialogue, he said he has not heard officially to this effect from the Chinese side.

"I do not know if we heard that at a formal level. No, I don't think we heard anything directly. We would have some consultations with China coming up. We look forward to talking with them on this issue," Campbell said.

(Agencies)