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China Starts Selling Bullet Train Tickets


The United States expects to reach a "meaningful agreement" with China by May on the liberalization of aviation, US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said in Beijing on Friday. In a speech given to US business leaders in China, Peters said liberalizing China's skies would bring economic benefits to both China and the US. She hoped a framework for an "open skies agreement" could be agreed this May. "That (to reach the agreement) is our goal, and I do believe that we can reach a meaningful agreement by May at the next SED (Strategic Economic Dialogue)," said Peters, who was in Beijing to discuss the possible agreement with Chinese officials. The China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue is a twice-annual high-level meeting. The second round of talks between Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is scheduled for May in Washington. Despite strong demand, there are an average of only 11 daily nonstop flights between China and the United States, Peters said. By comparison, she noted there are 55 daily flights between the United States and Germany, with which Washington has an "open skies" deal. "The demand for nonstop US-China services is there. Unfortunately, the supply is not," she said, pointing out that the number of seats available is increasing by only 13 percent per year. Praising a 2004 aviation agreement between China and the United States that opened more routes between the two countries, Peters pointed out that it needs updating, and urged China to open its skies to more passenger and cargo traffic in order to boost two-way trade.

(Source:Xinhua News Agency, 2007-04-17)