High-level talks to kick off

Updated: 2013-07-10 11:27

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily)

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High-level talks to kick off

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi arrive at Washington on Tuesday for the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Wang Lei / Xinhua

Just one month after a presidential summit, China and the US will kick off a two-day, high-level dialogue today to address a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

The 5th China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) will be co-chaired by Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, all for the first time for the four.

US Vice-President Joseph Biden is expected to start the opening ceremony Wednesday morning at the State Department, followed by remarks by the four co-chairs. Then representatives from the two sides will immediately get down to business in two separate sessions on climate change and energy security, a new feature of the annual S&ED talks that began in 2009.

The two governments will also engage in discussions starting Wednesday morning on a strategic track, to be chaired by Yang and Kerry, and an economic track, to be led by Wang and Lew.

The US side said that Kerry's schedule will be determined on a day-to-day basis, as his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had been recently hospitalized with seizure-like symptoms. According to the latest reports Tuesday afternoon, she was showing improvement.

Officials from both sides had already started intensive talks on Monday and Tuesday on a number of issues before Wang and Yang arrived with a large Chinese delegation at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Tuesday afternoon,

A bilateral working group on cyber security met for the first time on Monday. And the 3rd China-US Strategic Security Dialogue (SSD), chaired by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, was held on Tuesday, bringing together senior civilian and military officials from the two countries for discussion on sensitive security issues.

On Thursday, the two sides will continue their talks on both strategic and economic tracks, while business leaders from the two countries meet for a roundtable discussion.

The growing intertwined economic and trade ties between the US and China have long been regarded as a pillar of the relations between the world's two largest economies, who are also each other's second largest trading partner. Two-way trade approached $500 billion last year and holds potential to grow in the years and decades to come.

China is now one of the fastest growing export markets for the US, which also sees increasing foreign direct investment from China. Both have helped create jobs and speed up the economic recovery in the US.

Both sides have sent out positive messages for the dialogue to show that the two countries can work together to expand their cooperation and properly handle their differences.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Vice-Premier Wang said building a new model of a major country relationship based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation is the consensus aim of the two governments and peoples.

"A bright future awaits China-US relations if we join hands and work together," he said.

Wang did not shy away from differences, such as views on the trade imbalance, protection of intellectual property rights, US restriction of high-tech exports to China and Chinese FDI in the US.

"The only way to resolve such disagreements is to enhance communication, deepen mutual understanding and promote mutual trust," said Wang, whose leadership in south China's Guangdong province in previous years was widely acclaimed both in China and the US.

Also on Wednesday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by State Councilor Yang in which he called US-China cooperation "an anchor for world peace and stability."

"China's development poses no threat to any other country," Yang said, adding that China's pursuit of development will undoubtedly expand its mutually beneficial cooperation with the US and other countries.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kin Moy described the S&ED as following on the important discussions between Xi and Obama on June 7-8.

"And the S&ED remains the sort of key mechanism for putting into practice our two presidents' vision, and so it is important just coming about four weeks after their discussions in California," Moy told a conference call on Monday.

President Obama is expected to meet both Wang and Yang, who are officially special envoys to the S&ED sent by President Xi.

A joint press conference on late Thursday afternoon will announce an outcome document, which identifies the key areas of cooperation for the two countries. Last year, some 50 areas were on the list. This year, the list will be substantially longer, according to Chinese officials.


(China Daily USA 07/10/2013 page1)