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Healthy Sino-US Ties Vital to World Harmony

By Ren Yujun

US President George W. Bush's visit to China will be his fifth meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao this year.

To make the tour a success, high-ranking US officials have flocked to China for preparations. Even Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has long been known for a tough stance towards China, issued an open letter during his last month's stay in Beijing, demonstrating his warm feelings for local residents.

It will be Bush's first trip to China since Hu assumed presidency in March 2003.

During his stay in Beijing, Bush is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao and hold in-depth talks with them on overall bilateral relations and issues of common concern and strategic importance.

To the two countries Sino-US relations are the most important and complicated bilateral ties in the world.

China and the United States have become two engines driving global economic development, in terms of production and consumption respectively.

A healthy bilateral relationship is of vital significance to a harmonious world community that seeks lasting peace and common prosperity.

During general debate about the country's relations with China in the first half of this year, President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top politicians reached a consensus that the country should value the ties and respond to China's goodwill and sincerity in a pragmatic manner.

The concentrated visits to China by top-level American officials, such as Treasury Secretary John Snow, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Secretary of Defence Rumsfled, best reflect this consensus. The visits have also created a good environment for Bush's visit.

The Taiwan question is expected to be a topic dominating Bush's talks with Chinese leaders. The issue has been the most important and sensitive one in Sino-US relations.

The US Government has reaffirmed many times its commitment to the principles contained in the three joint Sino-US communiques, the one-China policy and maintaining non-official ties with Taiwan. It has also promised not to support "Taiwan independence," "two Chinas," "one China, one Taiwan" or the island's entry into international organizations whose membership is only eligible to sovereign states.

A healthy and stable Sino-US relationship rests on the two nations properly handling the issue.

The US sales of sophisticated weapons to the island have complicated relations between the two nations.

Currently, the overwhelming majority of the world adheres to the one-China principle. Bush has also asserted on many occasions that there would be no change to the US Taiwan policy.

Bilateral trade ties are also expected to be a focus during Bush's talks with Chinese leaders.

Economic and trade collaboration has always been an important prop of bilateral ties.

In recent years, Sino-US trading volume has rapidly increased, the scale of direct US investment in China has expanded, and bilateral economic and trade co-operation widened. The United States has already become China's second largest trading partner and China is fourth on the US foreign trade partner list.

The Chinese Government has long attached paramount importance to its economic and trade ties with the United States. It also advocates the two nations should take advantage of bilateral economic complementariness to further boost trade ties and abandon protectionism.

It is unavoidable that the two nations have frictions in economic and trade fields. Dialogue, not sanctions, serves as the only way to settle disputes.

The temporary agreement between China and the United States on clothes and textile trade early this month after seven rounds of talks signals a good beginning for the settlement of thorny economic and trade issues.

To settle the outstanding bilateral trade deficit, China thinks the best way is to increase US exports, especially high-tech products, to China, and for the US not to unilaterally restrict imports.

RMB exchange rates and intellectual property rights (IPR) protection are also expected to become an important focus of the US president's Beijing trip.

The United States has long urged China to appreciate its yuan. Treasury Secretary Snow recently called on China to relax its restrictions on yuan transactions with US dollars, and revalue it before Bush's visit.

In recent years, the IPR issue has always been mentioned by US delegations in their economic and trade talks with Chinese counterparts.

The Chinese Government has made relentless efforts in IPR protection.

Over the past year, the country has handled tens of thousands of IPR infringement cases. The Chinese Government has vowed to continue to take measures and crack down severely on illegal activities.

In recent years, China and the United States have carried out fruitful co-operation in global counter-terrorism. Thus, Bush is expected to raise this topic with Chinese leaders.

The United States has also shown great concerns over the current spreading of avian influenza throughout the world.

Washington is extremely concerned over China's attempts to control bird flu and other epidemics, an American China issues expert said.

The summit meeting between the two nations' top leaders will deepen bilateral understanding on numerous issues. The extensive common consensuses expected to be reached between Bush and China's leaders will further push bilateral constructive co-operation ties in a positive direction.

The author is a People's Daily correspondent in the United States.

(China Daily November 18, 2005)


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