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Strategic Dialogue 'Will Boost Sino-US Relations'
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The strategic dialogue between China and the United States this week will help increase mutual trust and narrow differences, leading to a healthy development of bilateral ties, Chinese observers have said.

The fourth round of the dialogue, to be held on June 20-21 in Washington DC, will be co-chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

The dialogue mechanism helps high-level diplomats from the two countries have frequent contact and creates a close working relationship, which is conducive to guiding the direction of overall relations, Sun Zhe, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, said in an interview.

"But we can't expect such meetings to produce solutions to specific problems between the two countries," Sun added.

Topics are not designated and the two sides can discuss and exchange views on any bilateral, regional or global issues of interest.

However, some issues are sure to figure, said Tao Wenzhao, a researcher on American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"China is likely to raise its concerns over the Taiwan question with the election of the island's 'president' scheduled next year. Also, given the fact that Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian is still attempting to revise the island's 'constitution', no one can expect what will happen," Tao said.
"The US, on its part, will surely seek support from China in resolving the Iranian nuclear standoff and the Darfur issue," he added. "Besides, considering the Pentagon released a report on China's military recently at a time when the US is trying to deploy strategic missiles in Eastern Europe, the two sides are likely to hold discussions on their strategic purposes and interests."

According to Sun, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is also likely to be raised as North Korean funds frozen in a Macao bank are reported to have been transferred to Pyongyang which could lead to progress in the six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The strategic dialogue comes less than a month after the second round of the China-US strategic economic dialogue held in Washington. It is also taking place at a time when a group of US senators are mulling legislation this week to press Beijing to revalue its currency more quickly, and thus make its exports more expensive.

Sun said, under the Strategic Dialogue, exchanges and dialogue between parliaments, defense departments, environment agencies and even think tanks from the two countries should be strengthened to help solve specific problems existing between the two sides.

The semi-annual strategic dialogue, agreed upon by President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart George W. Bush at the 2004 APEC Meeting, was inaugurated in 2005 by Dai and former US Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick in Beijing. The last round was held in Beijing last November.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a press conference last week the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on major issues.

(China Daily June 19, 2007)

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