Upgrading cooperation

Updated: 2012-11-21 08:10

(China Daily)

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During their meeting on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit held in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Premier Wen Jiabao and US President Barack Obama reaffirmed the two countries' commitment to promoting bilateral cooperation.

Given that this is their first meeting after China's leadership transition and Obama's re-election this month, the significance of their remarks go beyond the bilateral level, as they have positive implications for the world economy and the two countries' cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Business, trade and finance are where the two countries' interests already converge to a large extent. Bilateral trade is likely to top $500 billion this year. Ironing out the road for greater bilateral cooperation in these fields will obviously benefit both economies.

And given the size and clout of their economies, taking concrete steps in this regard and promoting trade ties in a cordial atmosphere, rather than miring them in disputes, would inject much needed confidence in a global economic recovery.

The same principle should apply to their cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, where China hopes the US will be constructive so the two countries can jointly contribute to regional peace and development.

While some on the other side of the Pacific want to see China bogged down in conflicts with neighboring countries, this would do no good to the US' strategic interests in the long term.

Recently, emboldened by the US rebalancing policy in the Asia-Pacific, some countries have created waves over their maritime territorial disputes with China, disregarding the region's common desire for stability and development.

But as Wen made clear in his speech to the 15th China-ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh on Monday, China seeks friendly relations with countries in the region, and hopes they can address each other's concerns with sensitivity and handle the disputes between them appropriately among themselves.

As a global power eying a bigger role in Asia, the US should make sure its involvement mitigates the tensions over maritime territorial disputes and not the opposite.

Power politics or the world's only superpower dictating affairs in the Asia-Pacific would inevitably lead to confrontation and crisis. Cooperation is the only option if the two countries want to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region. Something that benefits all.

(China Daily 11/21/2012 page8)