Latest US-China talks should smooth the way

Updated: 2013-07-29 02:08

By Zhang Zhixin (China Daily)

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Fourth, both countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in macroeconomic policies. While the two countries are transforming their economic structures, competition is enormous. As one US China watcher says, the most competitive and important aspect of the Sino-US relationship has been and will continue to be economic.

While US concerns focus on market access and protection of intellectual property, the Chinese are paying more attention to security reviews of investments in the US and on American restrictions on technology exports to China. What's more, China and the US are promoting different visions of a regional trade agreement in Asia that would exclude the other.

The good news from this round of the S&ED is that both countries announced further concrete measures to support strong domestic and global growth, promote open trade and investment, enhance international rules and global economic governance and foster financial market stability and reform. And there was a clear message to the world: China will continue with its reform and opening-up policy, which will benefit both Chinese and Americans.

Last but not least, the US and China will continue their cooperation on regional and global issues. This dialogue emphasized the mixed picture of the international security environment for both countries. While the negative economic effect of the financial crisis is fading slowly, its political effect is still causing turmoil and instability in North Africa and western Asia. The US is withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan and rebalancing its strategic posture toward Asia and the Pacific area, with the aim of emboldening its regional allies to challenge China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

With nuclear issues in Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea unresolved, and Palestine-Israel negotiations stalled, the international security environment is sliding toward more uncertainty and insecurity. This round of dialogue highlighted several pressing security issues.

On the nuclear issues, both sides reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and their commitment to seeking a comprehensive and long-term solution to Iran's nuclear program. Agreement and consensus were also reached on Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan/South Sudan issues. On the controversial US rebalancing strategy, the two sides decided to work together to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region. The newly established US-China Maritime Safety Dialogue between the US Coast Guard and the China Maritime Safety Administration will improve mutual confidence between the countries and produce more co-operation on maritime security issues.

Relations between the US and China were fine before the latest S&ED. The earlier informal but successful summit held in California between President Xi and President Obama put relations back on track. Although it has never been an easy relationship, with institutionalized communication mechanisms and mutual confidence built during the process, people from both countries can be optimistic about the development of Sino-US relations in the near future.

The author is associate research professor at the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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