Talks provide a new map: Vice-premier

Updated: 2013-07-12 13:45

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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China and United States should not set their differences aside as they strive to keep their bilateral relationship on the right track, Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang said at a dinner reception during the fifth round of the China-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) held in Washington DC on Thursday.

"I visited the United States 10 years ago, and today I find our relationship has grown much closer since then," Wang said. "We always seek common ground during this S&ED, but I suddenly realized we should also keep our differences."

China and the US have different cultural heritages and social systems, he said.

"If the world had only winter but no summer, only woman but no man, without these differences, how boring it would be?" he said.

Wang quoted the old Chinese proverb "People cannot eat hot tofu without good patience" to summarize the outcome of the S&ED. "Everyone knows the start is difficult, and we are off to a good start," he said.

He also said the US has hundreds of years' history behind its market economy, while China has only 30 years of practice. If it was a boxing match, the two players would be in different weight classes.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said at the dinner that the fifth S&ED had achieved good results and completed its mission of implementing their top leaders' Sunnylands agreement to begin building a new model of a major country relationship.

He said the dialogue opens a new map for the growing relationship between the two countries and that win-win cooperation required "wisdom", "vision" and "action".

Both sides should keep an "open-minded" view towards each other's development and have more face-to-face, high-level exchange to build "mutual trust" in the future, he said. "One of the best rewards of this trip for me is seeing many old friends and making new friends tonight."

Joe Borich, president of the Washington State China Relations Council, told China Daily, "I have long advocated free and open trade and investment relations between the U.S. and China. I know that this is a difficult and complicated goal to reach and to reach it we will first have to solve many of the issues on both sides that still challenge our relationship."

As for the China Strategic &Economic Dialogue, most of these issues still involve finding a way to establish basic trust between two countries that have fundamental differences between their systems, he said.

"I believe those differences can be - indeed, are steadily being - bridged, but we are not yet all the way there," he said.

Until we are, there will continue to be questions raised on both sides about trade and investment, especially when trade and investment issues collide with more basic questions regarding national security and core national interests, he said.

The world's two largest economies have no choice, in my opinion, but to intensify their contacts and ongoing search for mutual understanding and trust - at all levels - if we want to optimize the benefits of our economic relations, he said.

"To expand on this viewpoint, I firmly believe our only hope of making the 21st Century one of global peace and prosperity will depend for the most part on how well China and the US manage their relations in the coming decades," he added.

(China Daily USA 07/12/2013 page1)