The fourth China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue will take place in Annapolis, capital of the state of Maryland, on Tuesday and Wednesday local time. The choice of the beautiful seaside town to convene the meeting in a way reflects the special importance of the talks.
Several aspects of this round of the talks are "new". The first is a new situation. On the US side the presidential election campaigns have entered the white-hot stage; the country's economic prospect remains uncertain with the impacts of the subprime crisis still felt strongly; President George W. Bush's term in office is approaching its end, while the nation is somewhat unsure where its development is headed.
On the Chinese side, post-quake relief and reconstruction, stabilizing the stock markets and preparations for the Olympic Games are all testing the nation's social and economic resilience and development potential.
And from a global point of view, a food crisis is looming large as the price of oil and almost everything else is going up, leaving the world economy to face challenges of historic proportions.
The second new thing is the personnel. As "Iron Lady" Wu Yi's successor, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan will for the first time head the Chinese delegation in these talks.
The third is new starting point. Coming up is the fourth round of the bilateral strategic economic dialogue since the first round took place in December 2006. The key achievements and experience gained from the first three rounds serve as a good foundation for the success of the fourth.
With all these new aspects the latest round has naturally attracted more than usual attention from both countries and the rest of the world and aroused all kinds of expectations. How will China and the US, as two main engines of the global economy, contribute to the macro-economic development through rational dialogue? As a key pillar supporting the overall stability of bilateral ties, can the strategic economic dialogue play the role for long, and how will they propel Sino-US relations toward lasting strategic stability with increased clout? Will this round turn out to be the finishing touches to a phase or the prelude to a new chapter in the China-US economic and trade ties?
The first reason why the strategic economic talks have attracted so much attention and expectations lies in the particularly important positions China and the US occupy in the global system and the current unusual world economic situation. The next is that the first three rounds actually achieved important results instead of becoming a platform for platitudes.
In the previous three rounds, the two sides have adopted "mutual benefit and win-win results" as the spirit of dialogue and principle so that the pursuit of their own interests will not deny the other party's interests or feelings and they will find the point or points where the two nations' interests join those of the world as well as seeking to maximize their common interests.