China and the United States started their strategic dialogue in Beijing with a first session on Monday morning. The dialogue aims to facilitate bilateral relations.
The closed-door dialogue, the first senior level meeting of its kind between the two countries, was co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday.
The dialogue is a result of a consensus reached between Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Chile last year. It is likely that the dialogue will take place twice a year.
The dialogue is a new high in Sino-US relations, following recent frequent high-level visits and exchanges between the two countries.
The recently concluded annual session of the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was held on July 11 in Beijing during which the two sides agreed to set up cooperation mechanisms on cross border prosecutions for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations and on the protection of film copyrights.
Zoellick is another important member of the Bush administration to visit China within a month, after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Trade Representative Rob Portman, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.
Zoellick said the discussions with Chinese officials would enable the two countries "to get a better sense of one another's interests. Where there are points of mutuality--and I believe there are many; how to work cooperatively; but also, where we have differences, how best to try to manage them."
Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan visited the US last week to discuss the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and make preparations for President Hu's US visit in September.
The dialogue coincides with the fourth round of six-party talks - involving the US, China, Russia, Japan, and the two Koreas - on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue now underway in Beijing.
Negotiators are reportedly working on a first-ever joint statement as the talks enter an unprecedented seventh day.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2005)