Google has convinced the U.S. government to at least consider challenging China's censorship practices before the World Trade Organization, according to Reuters, but U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk indicates the government is still weighing its options and pursuing other avenues to resolve the differences with the Chinese government.
Kirk said trying to resolve the issue through bilateral forums such as the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was "much more preferable than the uncertain path of what can be a two-, three-, four-year legal battle in the WTO."
That said, however, Kirk also noted the United States won't hesitate to go the WTO route if all other options are exhausted without a resolution.
He pointed out that Google and Chinese officials have been in "intense negotiations" since the search giant threatened to leave the country. Interestingly, however, Chinese officials have denied that such talks have been under way.
Notwithstanding China's protests, however, reports Wednesday quote Google CEO Eric Schmidt as saying the dispute will be resolved "soon." According to The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt indicated that though the company will not go into details, it is in "active negotiations with the Chinese government."
Meanwhile, BusinessWeek reports analysts at Piper Jaffray say that despite its bluster, Google is still censoring search results in China.