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China, US to step up anti-graft cooperation: Chinese media

Chinese President Xi Jinping (in photo) has?overseen a sweeping campaign to root out deeply-ingrained corruption since assuming office more than three years ago. Photograph: (Reuters)

Beijing, China Oct 27, 2016, 02.59 AM (IST)

China and the United States are in "advanced negotiations" over returning five of China's corruption suspects who have fled to the United States, a Chinese state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday.

China has undertaken 'Operation Fox Hunt' in its search for corrupt officials and business executives who have fled abroad as part of President Xi Jinping's war against corruption, Reuters reported.

The English-language Chinese daily quoted a senior unidentified official at the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, saying that China and the United States had speeded up talks on the return of the five.

"We will offer relevant evidence to our US counterparts in a timely manner and leave for the US at a proper time to conduct a joint investigation with our counterparts," Reuters quoted the official as saying.

The five included Yang Xiuzhu, a former deputy mayor of Wenzhou in the eastern province of Zhejiang, and Xu Chaofan, a former Bank of China regional director in the southern province of Guangdong.

The graft suspects have fled to the United States, Canada and Australia among other places and the governments of these countries have insisted that China undertakes a legal process to get back its suspects.

A spokeswoman for the US State Department told Reuters that the US had a proven commitment to prosecute fugitives after China had provided sufficient evidence.

Fugitives could be returned to other countries "within the bounds and protections afforded by our Constitution and laws", she said.

"It is necessary to offer solid evidence to US judicial officials and to make sure Chinese law enforcement officials are well-versed in US and international law," justice ministry official Zhang Xiaoming told the China Daily.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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