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China Voice: Time to turn China-U.S. tensions

English.news.cn   2014-07-09 20:37:47

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Analysts hold low expectations for the high-level dialogue between China and the United States as differences remain between the two powers. But this makes the talks all the more necessary.

Foreign policy and economic chiefs launched their sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) on Wednesday in Beijing. Topics include sensitive questions in the bilateral relationship, the two sides' interactions on regional and international issues, trade and investment cooperation, as well as financial liberalization.

The talks come as bilateral relations experienced setbacks and the degree of trust in each other's intentions has declined in the past year, despite the willingness to build a new model of major power relations as voiced by leaders of the two countries last year.

A host of contentious issues, ranging from cyber attacks to China's territorial disputes with its neighbors in the Asia Pacific region, have undermined the possibilities for positive movement. There are even skeptical voices wondering whether the two powers are moving toward confrontation.

Based on the real situation, it is expected talks will be full of hot debate until agreement is achieved.

While prospects for larger political and strategic understandings seem problematic, experts believe this year's dialogue needs a lot more weight on the economic side, such as new energy and bilateral investment, to prevent security tensions from deteriorating further.

China is also open to discussing anti-terrorism, military exchanges, climate change and regional security.

Whatever topics are discussed, the most important thing China needs is a peaceful and stable external environment that promotes its targets of reform and development. And the United States is expected to show respect for China's core interests.

Regrettably, past experience has shown that the crux of bilateral relations always lies with the United States.

The world's biggest economy and strongest military is always worrying about China's rise and has consequently adopted an encircling policy apparently targeting China.

In April, President Obama visited U.S. allies Japan, South Korea and the Philippines in a trip that excluded China.

Judging from recent U.S. reactions to the right-leaning politics of Japan and territorial disputes on the South China Sea, China has reasons to believe that the United States has attempted to block China by using its allies in the region.

When China feels uncomfortable during these developments, particularly when facing infringement on China's interests, it is hard for China to believe in Washington's reassurance that it does not seek to contain China's growing power.

It is the United States that should take the initiative to demonstrate to the world that, even facing negativity and potential alienation in bilateral relations, the two powers still stick to the dialogue mechanism to ensure that cooperation and consultation define the overall relationship.

Despite all the challenges, positive signs emerged when President Obama acknowledged that the United States and China would not always "see eye-to-eye on every issue," but that he hoped the two countries would candidly address differences.

He was echoed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said in a keynote speech at the S&ED that the two countries should properly handle frictions and contradictions so as to forge a new model of major-country relations.

As the most influential platform of communication, the S&ED is expected to stabilize the relationship and translate the desire for cooperation into concrete actions rather than serve as a venue for vague talks and arguments.

Hopefully, the candid talks will lead to results of improved bilateral relations so that when President Obama visits China in November, the two countries can find more issues to see "eye-to-eye" and take more actions "hand-in-hand."

The world is watching. It is time for talks and, more importantly, actions for a new start.

Editor: Yang Yi
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