Bridging the divide

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, May 11, 2011
Adjust font size:

We met. We talked. We will better manage our relations to the benefit of both our nations and the rest of the world.

This should be the message from the two-day meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) between China and the United States, which concludes today in Washington.

As US Vice-President Joe Biden said, the relationship between China and the US, and how the two countries manage it, will shape the 21st century. It has become a consensus that Sino-US ties have implications far beyond their bilateral scope.

To steer one of the world's most important relations onto a smooth and upward path requires both sides to demonstrate a strong political will in building mutual trust on a wide range of issues. So it is good to see "mutual trust" was one of the most frequently used phrases when high-ranking officials on both sides expressed their views during the S&ED meeting.

To deepen mutual trust either politically or strategically, both nations need to face their differences squarely and discuss them in full and on an equal footing. Exaggeration or a condescending attitude will not bridge the gaps but rather widen the divides.

Of all the issues on which the US is at odds with China, the appreciation of the yuan and human rights topped the list at this year's S&ED.

Washington wants the yuan to appreciate faster in hopes of increasing US exports to China, thus reducing its overall trade deficit. China has long assured the US that it will increase the flexibility of the Chinese currency and indeed Beijing has been doing this. Since 2005, the yuan has risen more than 26 percent against the US dollar, 2 percent alone in the past four months.

This shows China has taken the US' concerns into consideration. In return, Washington should heed Beijing's concerns about rising inflationary pressures exacerbated by a weak dollar.

As to the US' concern about the so-called deterioration of China's human rights record, it is not based on the reality that China's human rights are steadily improving. Being at different stages of social development, China and the US have different priorities in promoting human rights.

Preaching on human rights with a condescending manner only leads to antipathy and delays cooperation on more immediate issues.

Whether Sino-US relations will experience significant progress hinges on how well the two governments handle their disputes and differences. Obviously, it will take time and patience before the major gaps between the two countries are bridged.

In the meantime, we should look beyond these disputes and seek more common grounds to pave the way for pragmatic cooperation.

As Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said, the past and the present have proven, and the future will prove, that nothing can hold back the trend of Sino-US cooperation.

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from