China and the US this morning started their first strategic economic dialogue, the latest sign of bilateral efforts to boost their long-term relationship.
Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson co-chaired the dialogue as the special representatives of President Hu Jintao and President George W. Bush respectively.
"It's conducive to enhancing trust and dispelling suspicion to strengthen the dialogue between China and the US in the economic field," Wu said at the outset of the meeting.
She explained the dialogue would focus on the discussion of global, strategic and long-term macro-economic issues of common concern.
In her key-note speech titled "China's Development Road," Wu said, "I hope the dialogue will enable you to have a relatively comprehensive and systemic perspective of China, a better knowledge of our country, thus enhancing our mutual understanding and trust."
Her speech elaborated on China's adherence to peaceful development, industrialization, reform and opening-up.
The two-day dialogue will be divided into several sessions on China's development path, balanced progress between urban and rural areas, sustainable development, trade, investment, energy and environment issues.
The meetings are the first under a twice-a-year strategic economic dialogue mechanism launched in Beijing in September.
Wu and Paulson held a 15-minute closed-door session before things got underway.
The Chinese delegation includes more than 10 ministers in finance, development and reform, science, labor, railways, communications, health, environment and the central bank as well as the Chinese ambassador to the US. In Paulson's delegation are US cabinet secretaries of commerce, labor, energy and health and human services.
The high-profile US delegation also includes Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, who is paying his first visit to China. The US Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, also took part in the meetings.
President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with the US delegation Friday afternoon.
These meetings are the highest-level yet in the existing China-US dialogue and consultation mechanism.
(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2006)