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China-US talks format 'successful'
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China will work with the new US administration on keeping the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) mechanism to consolidate bilateral ties, a senior Chinese financial official said in Beijing on Thursday.

The SED, initiated by President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart George W. Bush in 2006, has played an important role in pushing the advancement of relations between Beijing and Washington, Assistant Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said.

China will discuss with the Obama administration on whether the dialogue's name and contents should be changed, Zhu said.

He was briefing journalists from China and the United States on the fifth SED, which will be held in Beijing from Dec 4-5.

Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will co-chair the SED as special representatives of the heads of state of the two countries

Zhu hoped the handover of power in US would not affect the Sino-US exchanges.

The dialogue, held twice a year in China and the US in turn, have so far achieved 150 results, ranging from the macro economy to environment protection, Zhu said. "The success of the mechanism has shown its vitality and it should be continued."

The global financial crisis will also be on the agenda at the SED meeting.

The two sides are expected to make progress too in the areas of food safety, product quality and reduction of trade protectionism, Zhu said.

Yuan Peng, director of the Institute of American Studies with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told China Daily Thursday that the SED is widely recognized by the two political parties in the US.

No matter which party is in power, this framework for dialogue should be continued, he said.

However, some members of the Democratic Party have blamed the mechanism for failing to force China to raise the exchange rate of the renminbi and open wider its financial sector.

"It is possible that the two sides could make adjustments to the name and contents of the dialogue, and even promote the mechanism to the vice-presidential level," Yuan said.

(China Daily November 28, 2008)

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