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Strategic Talks Will Help Strengthen Sino-US Ties

Twenty-six years after they established diplomatic relations, China and the US held their first ever regular strategic dialogue in Beijing yesterday. This is a positive and significant step towards building stable Sino-US relations.

Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick co-chaired the high-level talks, which reportedly focused on common strategic matters such as anti-terrorism, economics, energy and foreign policy.


During a whole day of closed-door discussions, the two sides exchanged views in a candid and in-depth manner while reiterating that long-term, healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations is in the interests of both sides. The two sides also agreed to hold the second strategic dialogue in the US months later.


Such a milestone event came about as a result of the consensus reached between President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Chile last year.


It demonstrates the determination and sincerity of the two countries to establish an all-round communication mechanism in a bid to better deal with their deepening, complex relationship.


Of course there are a growing number of disputes as well as close exchanges and stronger cooperation between the two countries. Conflicts have emerged in trade and misunderstanding and suspicion in fields such as foreign policy, security and energy.


It is no surprise at all that the two powers the world's most developed nation and the biggest developing country have both overlapping interests and differences. A critical task facing both sides is establishing a platform to manage differences and potential conflicts to reduce the risk of mutual misunderstanding.


Regrettably, the absence of a regular communication mechanism in the past left Sino-US relations to be directed by a passive crisis-addressing model although both sides recognized the importance of solving their problems.


The start of a regular Sino-US strategic dialogue will surely offer both countries an effective channel for promoting mutual understanding and trust, for strengthening cooperation and appropriately addressing concerns.


Friendly dialogue between high-level officials seeing eye to eye will help avoid unnecessary friction, dispel misgivings about strategy and contribute to the development of stable and vigorous bilateral relations.


On the Chinese side, such a regular communication mechanism with the US meets the need for a peaceful environment for development.


Through strengthening communication between the most influential political and economic forces in the Asia-Pacific region, Beijing can demonstrate to Washington its determination to engage in peaceful development, while showing China's core interests cannot be challenged.


The high-level strategic talks provide the US with a platform to accurately evaluate China's development and national strength. There will be less scope for American decision-makers to rush into incorrect judgments of China on the basis of the spurious "China threat."


A stable Sino-US relationship based on regular high-level dialogue is also conducive to regional and international stability. The benefits have already been reaped at the ongoing six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


Of course, it is unrealistic to expect such a regular communication mechanism to eradicate all of the differences between China and the US, which have different national conditions and core interests. In fact, there will never be a once-and-for-all solution to such a complex relationship.


But as long as the two nations continue to build mutual trust through a powerful communication mechanism, they will solve problems as they arise, which will help develop truly stable relations.


(China Daily August 2, 2005)

China, US Hold First Strategic Dialogue Session
Wen Meets Zoellick for Strategic Dialgoue
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