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China-US summit sets tone for future
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The first meeting between the Chinese president and his U.S. counterpart redefined bilateral ties, expanded the scope of future cooperation, and brought China-U.S. ties to a new jumping off point, analysts said.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in London, Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday agreed to work together to build a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship in the 21st century."

New definition, new start

The new relationship carries on consensus between Hu and Obama's predecessor George W. Bush and shows the two sides' readiness to further their cooperative relations, Ma Zhengang, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said.

China-U.S. ties are typical of relations between major powers, and an overall defining of such links is very crucial considering their intricacy, Jin Canrong, associate dean with the School of International Studies at China's People's University, said.

China and the United States are seeking common grounds and interests in spite of differences in their social systems and others, and "this reflects positiveness" of their relations, Jin said.

As an extension to the "positive" relationship, they are working for "cooperation" with a full understanding of the significance of bilateral ties, Jin said, adding that an uncooperative China and the United States equals to a catastrophe for the 21st century.

"The new definition of the China-U.S. relations has clarified the nature of the relationship and the direction for their future cooperation," Fu Mengzi, researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said.

The tone of the new relationship is positive and it marks an upgrade from previous links between the two countries, Fu said.

The update in the definition of their relations reflects ever growing interdependence between the two nations and the significance of their cooperation in solving thorny issues facing the world, analysts said.

It will exert a positive influence on the Asian-Pacific region and the world as a whole, Ma said.

New mechanism, new platform

Hu and Obama decided to establish a new "China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue," mechanism and agreed that the first round of the dialogue will be held in Washington this summer.

The dialogue mechanism displays some new characteristics, Jin said. For example, it gives high priority to the strategic significance of the China-U.S. relations and will have a broader effect and influence, he said.

The new mechanism will also function more efficiently as it combines two existing key consultation mechanisms between the two sides, namely, the China-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue, Jin said.

Under the new mechanism, the dialogues will become more in-depth and will cover a broader range of issues. They will entail parallel and comprehensive dialogues on "strategic topics" such as politics, security and global issues, and "economic topics" such as finance and economy.

The new mechanism will see a higher profile of officials as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo will chair the "Strategic Track" and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will chair the "Economic Track" of the dialogue.

Observers believe that the establishment of the new "China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue" corresponds with the development of the international situation and evolvement of the China-U.S. relations.

The new mechanism will help strengthen the correlation between security and economy, Fu said.

The "dialogues" are based upon bilateral ties between China and the United States, however, their significance goes beyond a bilateral relationship, Fu said.

"The announcement of the new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (mechanism) demonstrates that both sides want to build on the positive momentum created during the past few years in U.S.-China relations," Dennis Wilder, a renowned China expert with the Brookings Institution, said.

He said "close U.S.-China dialogue at senior levels is critical for both sides to deal with bigger challenges."

New cooperation, new opportunity

Hu and Obama stressed that China and the United States, two of the world's major economies, will work together to renew economic growth and stabilize the financial system so as to avoid reoccurrence of a similar grave crisis.

They shared the view that the stimulus measures taken by both countries have contributed to enhancing global economic stability, and that a powerful financial system is crucial for reviving world economic growth.

The two leaders also agreed to replenish the resources of international institutions to help meet the capital shortage of emerging markets and developing countries, and pledged to work together to this end.

The two leaders expressed their firm support for global trade and investment flow that is beneficial to all, and promised to oppose protectionism and ensure their sound and stable bilateral trade ties.

The consensus reached by the two heads of state has won plaudits from experts and the media.

Jin said China and the United States should work hand in hand as they are "in the same boat."

The China-U.S. summit is in the global interest as international financial markets are looking forward to all-around cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the crisis, Jin said.

He said the two countries are recognized as the engines of the world economy, contributing to more than half of the world's economy in the past years.

If the two countries can move forward together in the current difficult times, it will help pull the whole world out of the crisis at an early date, Jin said.

Most media believe future China-U.S. ties will turn out to be positive despite existing differences or divergence, and a strong indicator of it is the fruitful summit between the two countries.

(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2009)

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