Reporter Journal / Chen Weihua

S&ED hailed as 'flagship dialogue'

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-06-01 09:51

US officials have praised the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) as a great platform in advancing cooperation between the two nations while addressing their differences.

Daniel Russel, US assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, called the S&ED "the flagship dialogue" and "mechanism for connecting the work of our two governments".

"And over the last eight years, we've used it to do two things. One, to set the goals and the direction of the relationship. But secondly, to help us work through and absorb some of the shocks to the system by allowing our teams to talk through, to think through and to work through real problem areas," he said on Tuesday.

Russel and Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli briefed reporters on the S&ED to be held in Beijing from June 6-7, ahead of Tuesday's department daily press briefing.

S&ED hailed as 'flagship dialogue'

"There is, in my view, huge value in this institutional mechanism," he said.

The eighth S&ED next week will be headed on the Chinese side by Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, while the US delegation will be headed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry. Meanwhile, the seventh China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange also will be held in the Chinese capital.

Russel citied accomplishments from the strategic track of the S&ED, such as efforts leading up to the cooperation on climate change, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, US Security Council Resolution on the nuclear tests by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the improved military-to-military relations between China and the US, fighting pandemics like the Ebola virus, and cooperation on Afghanistan and UN peacekeeping.

"At the same time, it has served as a venue that allows to discuss, and in some cases, to narrow our differences," he said, citing issues of the South China Sea, cybersecurity and human rights.

Novelli called the S&ED "a very productive and important forum" for a number of economic and environmental issues. She gave examples of the bilateral cooperation on energy, banning ivory trade and support for science and technology innovation to address environmental challenges.

"It's a very large and diverse relationship, and we're trying to work together where we can agree because when we agree, we can have great results and be very constructive," he said.

A report by two scholars from the Center for American Progress (CAP) released on Tuesday recommended that the US prioritize cooperation with China.

"Finding more areas of tangible cooperation on political- and security-related issues in the multilateral context can build trust between the two countries and lay the groundwork for more substantial regional cooperation," said the report, titled The Missing Link: Multilateral Institutions in Asia and Regional Security by Michael Fuch and Brian Harding of CAP.

It also recommended the US not to rigidly defend the status quo, citing US "knee-jerk" opposition to Chinese-initiated regional projects such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

"It should be a US priority to find ways to complement China's initiatives that have potential to enhance regional prosperity and connectivity, such as its One Belt One Road strategy," the report said.

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