Op-Ed Contributors

Deep talks for future ties

By Zhang Wenzong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-27 07:49
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Editor's note: During the two-day China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue(S&ED), China and US reached a consensus on a range of issues and some frictions are still remaining between them. However, the dialogue itself is a good platform for both sides to cultivate better and better bilateral ties.

China and the US should reflect on how they can help each other and the world, both economically and strategically

The two-day China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) concluded in Beijing on Tuesday. The two countries reached a consensus on a range of issues, and the meeting, by and large, was fruitful.

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Coming in the thick of bilateral fracas, the gathering of high-level officials for frank dialogue on issues of common concern was by itself a strong signal of their sincerity and desire to improve ties.

The "sit-together" gesture by Beijing and Washington is also good news for a world struggling to recover from the effects of the global financial crisis.

The roller-coaster relationship, from a transient honeymoon after the Obama administration came to power to a subsequent chill and then the current thaw, is testimony to its complexity, fragility and flexibility.

Sino-US ties are so complex that some scholars have compared the relationship to that of a couple who often quarrel but never divorce.

Globalization has already tightly bound the two influential countries; their interests have become increasingly interwoven.

In the second round of the S&ED, compromises were made by both sides on the economic and trade front - China vowed to continue its reform of the exchange rate regime and the US agreed to relax restrictions on hi-tech exports to China.

Promised cooperation in the development of electric vehicles, energy-conservation efforts in construction as well as work on clean energy sources speak volumes about the importance attached to the transformation of both economies.

The two powers also agreed to promote more people-to-people contacts; this will help remove misgivings and enhance mutual understanding.

A single meeting cannot resolve all existing differences.

Thorny issues, such as US' arms sales to Taiwan, Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, Google's exit from the Chinese mainland as well as human rights matters, were not part of the agenda during the just-concluded dialogue.

Beijing and Washington also failed to ink a win-win resolution regarding their industrial development policies, and the Iran and Korean Peninsula nuclear issues.

Even so, the move to set up such a top-level dialogue mechanism to resolve their differences is a positive step.

US concepts, such as "shares-holder", "strategic reassurance", and the "group of two", or Chinese constructs, such as "peaceful rise", "peaceful development" and "harmonious world," are proof of both nations' aspirations to free themselves from geopolitical repercussions caused by a changed international political landscape and to avoid a possible conflict between a recognized superpower and an emerging power.

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