by Xinhua writer Ren Haijun
WASHINGTON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Ahead of the second meeting of the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, the top U.S. science adviser spoke highly of the two countries' cooperation in science and technology.
"U.S.-China science and technology cooperation remains one of the strongest aspects of our bilateral relationship," John Holdren, science and technology adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said in a written interview with Xinhua Thursday.
Cooperation in science and technology continues to focus on some of the greatest challenges facing the two countries in the 21st century, such as energy efficiency research to address climate change, he said.
The launch of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, announced jointly by Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in November 2009, has provided a telling example of such cooperation with a focus on energy-efficiency buildings, carbon capture and storage technology as well as low emission vehicles, Holdren said.
On top of that, the two countries have conducted cooperation in agricultural science and technology, such as agricultural biotechnology, natural resource management, food safety, water conservation, agricultural technology and bioenergy.
"Energy and agriculture are just two areas of increased cooperation; we have collaborative activities spanning across many U.S. government agencies," Holdren said.
The earliest bilateral deal in science and technology since the normalization of China-U.S. relations dates back to January 1979, when the U.S.-China bilateral Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was signed along with the establishment of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation between the United States and China, he said.
"As a result, for over thirty years science and technology have played an active role in promoting bilateral relations between our two countries," he said.
Before joining the U.S. government, Holdren committed himself for many years to exchanges on energy technology, environmental science, as well as science and technology policy.
Before joining Obama's team, Holdren was a professor working on climate and energy issues at Harvard University, where he led a program on science, technology and public policy.
He served on former president Bill Clinton's science advisory team and was former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, where he pushed for more urgent action on global warming.
Holdren currently co-chairs the Joint Commission with Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang. The duo signed the renewal of the bilateral Science and Technology Agreement during the China-U.S. summit held in Washington in January.
"This renewal signifies the continuing commitment of the two countries to maintain and expand the historical emphasis on science and technology cooperation as a mainstay of our relationship," Holdren said.
Holdren also recalled his visit to Tongji University in Shanghai, China, last October.
"I was struck by the questions and deep interest (shown) by both faculty members and students in science and technology developments in the United States," he said.
"This interest -- in fields as diverse as nanotechnology, transportation, clean energy, and climate change -- demonstrates that there continues to be a large role for science and technology cooperation between both countries to tackle some of the greatest challenges that we jointly face in the 21st century," Holdren said.