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China eyes 'substantial progress' from upgraded dialogue with US
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China on Thursday vowed joint efforts with the United States to push for "substantial progress" out of the newly-upgraded Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama decided on Wednesday to establish the mechanism of "China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue" during their meeting ahead of the London G20 summit.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the decision to upgrade the dialogues to cabinet level meant a new historic start for China-U.S. relations, and reflected the growing importance of bilateral cooperation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo will chair the 'Strategic Track' and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will chair the 'Economic Track' of the dialogue, each as special representatives of their respective presidents.

The new China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue mechanism was upgraded from former Strategic Dialogue and biennial Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), which were initiated by the two heads of state in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

The Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by a Chinese state councilor and a U.S. deputy Secretary of State, focused on political and strategic issues in the development of bilateral ties. The SED, co-chaired by a Chinese Vice Premier and U.S. Treasury Secretary, concentrated on economic and financial topics including energy, environmental protection, intellectual property rights and service.

"The former Strategic Dialogue and SED launched during President George W. Bush administration had paved way for the new mechanism," said Qin, adding the new Strategic and Economic Dialogue fully reflected the two countries' aspirations to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship in the 21st century.

Military exchanges

China and the United States will resume military exchanges that were suspended last November.

Qin also said yesterday that Hu and Obama reached the agreement at their first meeting on Wednesday, one day before the G20 summit in London.

The White House said in a statement on Wednesday: "Both sides share a commitment to military-to-military relations and will work for their continued improvement and development."

A researcher lauded the move.

"In the long term, repairing and developing military ties between China and the United States are in the interests of both," Zhang Tuosheng, with the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, told China Daily.

China called off military exchanges late last year over the planned US sale of weapons to China's Taiwan province.

The two countries held military defense policy talks in Beijing in February, in what analysts said was a prelude to a resumption of military exchanges.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily April 3, 2009)

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