BEIJING: Foreign scholars and media have closely followed a just-concluded strategic dialogue between China and the United States, saying the healthy, stable development of their relations will not only serve their own interests, but also have a profound influence on global cooperation.
Shada Islam, director of policy at Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based think tank for the European Union (EU), said the two-day sixth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which ended in Beijing Thursday, showed that the world’s two major countries could talk directly with each other and seek to avoid an escalation of tensions.
“The world needs China and the U.S. to work with each other — despite their differences — not confront each other,” Islam said.
She added that Chinese President Xi Jinping is right to say that the two countries’ interests are now “more than ever interconnected,” with much to gain from cooperation and that confrontation would be a disaster.
“Tackling 21st century challenges and flashpoints requires all nations who want global stability to work together. Hopefully, the U.S. and China can set an sample for the rest of the world,” she said.
Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE), said the dialogue offers a good platform for China and the United States to solve policy issues in a practical and business-like way.
“The dialogue gives both sides a good chance to talk and try to build trust to one another … What China and the U.S. can do mutually together will in the future lay the ground for international cooperation for others to follow,” he said.
Michal Krol, an analyst on trade policy at the ECIPE, said China and the United States could exchange views on major security and economic issues through the dialogue.
“In the absence or ill functioning of other bilateral or multilateral forums, the S&ED strengthens U.S.-China ties by creating, reviewing and ticking off policy agenda shared by the two countries,” he said.
In a report, the Washington Post said China-U.S. relations have been on a downward spiral this year, but thanks to the dialogue, “they are trying to calm fears about a further deterioration in ties and stressing the potential for cooperation on a broad range of issues.”
The Wall Street Journal also paid close attention to the dialogue, saying this year’s talks were not really about resolving long-running disputes over trade irritants and calming geopolitical hot spots.
“They are primarily about ensuring that the world’s two largest economies don’t fall headlong into hostile conflict, a dynamic that the last century proved can wreak global havoc,” the newspaper said.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism, law enforcement and military-to-military relations, said Reuters.
On maritime disputes and cyber-spying, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi largely restated Beijing’s position on both, Reuters said.
“The Chinese side will continue to steadfastly protect its territorial and maritime rights” in the South and East China Seas, Reuters quoted Yang as saying.
“China urged the U.S. side to adopt an objective and impartial stance and abide by its promise to not take sides and play a constructive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability,” Reuters quoted.
The United States and China discussed trade and business concerns Thursday — with currencies and property rights among the thorny issues on the agenda — as the world’s two biggest economies held wide-ranging annual talks, said Agence France-Presse.
“China and the United represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind and it is only going to grow,” AFP quoted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as saying.
Direct foreign investment between the two has also ballooned, and last year for the first time the amount of investment flowing from China surpassed that from the United States, AFP added.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who had prodded China to move toward a market exchange rate, said China had committed to reducing intervention in its currency “as conditions permit,” the Associated Press reported.
“China is making preparations to adopt greater transparency, including on foreign exchange, which will accelerate the move to a more market-based exchange rate. These commitments will assist China in its reforms and will help level the playing field,” Lew was quoted as saying. PNA