Despite frosty talks, Biden will be good for U.S-China relationship, says ex-defence secy

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Attorney General Barr Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee, in Washington

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden "will be good for the relationship" between China and the United States, even though both sides might have "started a little on frosty side", former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen told a Beijing forum.

Speaking via video link to the China Development Forum, Cohen, who has known Biden since 1972, said U.S. engagement with China will be more professional, diplomatic and civil under Biden, as compared to the name-calling during Trump era.

China and U.S. top diplomats clashed publicly in their opening remarks at a meeting in Alaska this week, which ended hours before the forum in Beijing on Saturday, leading some observers to worry relations could be even worse than during the previous Trump administration, which saw ties sink to a historic low since diplomatic relations were established.

The private Alaska talks actually went better than what was displayed in public, David Rubenstein, a former U.S. government policy advisor and co-founder of Carlyle Group, told the forum.

But he does not expect a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping within a year.

"That's a good thing," he said.

"Because this means they're working behind the scenes to make certain when the summit occurs, there will be something productive occurring at that summit," he said.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Kim Coghill)