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CHINA EASES UP AS TEXTILE TALKS NEAR

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China scaled down its harsh criticism of the United States Thursday as the two sides prepare for last-minute textile negotiations, but it condemned Washington's pressure tactics to force concessions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Jianmin also confirmed that Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen would meet with Secretary of State Warren Christopher later this month to discuss Washington's human rights concerns, but he refused to give details.Wu toned down earlier government accusations that the United States is protecting its textiles markets but declined to speculate on an outcome to the talks or previously threatened Chinese retaliation if no agreement is reached.

However, he attacked the recently announced lower quotas on Chinese exports as U.S. pressure.

The three-day talks between U.S. Trade Representative's chief textile negotiator, Jennifer Hillman, and her Chinese counterparts end Monday, the day 25-35 percent lower quotas on Chinese exports of garments and unfinished textiles would go into effect.