China-U.S. relations are on the right track and the first bilateral summit after U.S. President Barack Obama took office is a positive step forward, a U.S. expert said on Wednesday.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Obama held their first face-to-face talks in London on Wednesday on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
"From what we can learn, they had a good meeting, they did agree that a whole range of topics we need closer discussions, and we need to find more areas in cooperation," Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, told Xinhua.
Having devoted his professional life to reporting on and writing about Asia, especially China, Schell has been closely observing the development of the cooperative scheme between the United States and China. He welcomed the new "U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue" mechanism which was revealed in a White House statement following the bilateral summit.
"I think this is really a positive step forward. It means we will be discussing more than just economics. It means the (cooperation in) economics can go on in their own pace, and other issues such as climate change, military to military relations, cultural exchange, things like that can happen in their own track," Schell said.
Schell believes that the two countries "are on the right track" and "both Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton and President Obama had expressed very clearly their interest in finding new areas of cooperation and collaboration."
Schell pointed out that the two countries are facing a time of great changes and disintegration, but he is "optimistic" about the bilateral cooperation.
Global economy and combating global climate change will be the two major areas that the world "will really look to China for clarity and leadership," he said.
By and large, Schell said, the Chinese government has moved quickly and decisively to do what it can to combat the economic downturn, including using its foreign reserves, stimulating the economy to the best of its capability and trying to stimulate the domestic consumption.
"In a certain sense, the U.S. and China are the major players who have made very aggressive moves," Schell said, "I expect, although it is still not certain, that China could well be the first large country to begin to show signs of economic recovery."
On climate change, Schell said it is "absolutely critical" among the new fronts of bilateral cooperation. "If (China and the U.S.) don't cooperate, there will be no solution to climate change," Schell stressed.
China's prominence on the world stage has risen, not just because it is more influential economically, but also as Europe is disorganized and American status and influence have suffered some real setbacks, he said.
The United States and China are the most important countries in the world, said Schell, adding: "That put tremendous burdens and responsibilities on the two governments and two presidents to find ways to work together."
"With America substantially weaker economically and I would say also in world influence in general, it has created a new balance between the United States and China. If the leaders can exploit it well and smartly, it could establish a new kind of China-U.S. relationship over next four or eight years."
(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2009)