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People's Daily Online

U.S., China in regular engagement on anti-corruption cooperation: State Department

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:09, March 26, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 25 -- The United States and China are having regular engagement on law enforcement cooperation, including on China's ongoing hunt for fugitive corrupt officials in the United States, the State Department said Wednesday.

'I can say broadly ... that the United States and China regularly engage on law enforcement matters of mutual concern such as repatriation and anti-corruption through the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation,' State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a regular news briefing.

She was responding to a media query on a Chinese media report that China has handed the U.S. government a priority list of over 150 high-profile fugitive officials in the United States with hopes to bring them back to China for trial.

Psaki said the Chinese delegation, at the most recent meeting, 'agreed that they would supply us more evidence regarding their priority fugitive cases so that we can increase our focus on the location and prosecution or removal of these fugitives.'

The two countries held the latest meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation in Beijing last December, during which China reportedly provided the U.S. side a priority list of about 150 fugitive officials wanted in China for corruption charges.

'And we continue to encourage China to provide strong evidence and intelligence to ensure that our law enforcement agencies can properly investigate and prosecute cases related to the alleged corruption,' Psaki said.

The spokesperson confirmed that China had provided such lists in the past and 'certainly that's something that is ongoing.'

She added that the U.S. Department of Justice is taking the lead in conducting anti-corruption cooperation with China, while the State Department also holds discussion with China on what information is needed and what steps can be taken.

The fact that the two countries have not signed an extradition treaty should not be an obstacle to China-U.S. cooperation on bringing corrupt officials to law, Psaki indicated.

'As a general matter, we can return fugitives to other countries, even when there is no extradition treaty, or when none exists, including through immigration proceedings, but there're a number of steps that need to be taken,' she said.

Still, the lack of an extradition treaty remains a major obstacle to anti-corruption cooperation between China and the United States, making extradition cooperation impossible. China has to use other means to chase fugitives and their illegal assets such as repatriation, prosecution and trial of the suspects in the United States.

On whether the two countries will commence negotiations for an extradition treaty, Psaki said that the United States will first take a number of factors into consideration.

She said an individual extradited from the United States to another country 'would receive a fair trial, and not be subject to torture or other forms of mistreatment in that country.' Moreover, the United States would not consider an extradition treaty unless the other country commits to extradite its own nationals, she added.

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