Controlling differences critical for China-US ties

May 3, 2012 7:09 am


It is undeniable that the two countries have various degrees of differences/XINHUA
BEIJING, May 3 – As China and the United States hold the 4th Strategic and Economic Dialogue on Thursday and Friday, experts in Beijing have vowed to appropriately manage differences in bilateral ties this year, which will see leadership changes in both countries.

“This year is a very important juncture in China-US relations,” Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies, said, adding that this round of dialogue seems critical for long-term and overall bilateral ties.

When speaking about the dialogue at a press briefing early last week, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said China and the US should “control their differences” through the framework of strategic talks.

In this round of dialogue, China hopes to look back and summarize the consensuses and experiences that have been made in the four rounds of dialogue, make plans for the framework’s future and explore a new type of relationship between major countries that features mutual respect and win-win cooperation, Cui added.

“(We should) promote mutual understanding and trust, expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation and control our differences in a bid to promote the cooperative partnership between the two countries,” said Cui.

As the world’s largest developing country and the largest developed country, respectively, as well as the top two economies in the world, China-US ties have been recognized by the international community as important and complicated bilateral ties that influence many global issues in both direct and indirect ways.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barack Obama on separate occasions in 2009 stressed that the two countries are committed to building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship for the 21st century and will take concrete actions to steadily build a partnership to address common challenges.

“Facing their differences and controlling them is of critical importance for the two countries in achieving this goal,” said Qu, adding that handling their differences is a sign of mutual understanding and trust, but also an indispensable base for expanding cooperation.

It is undeniable that the two countries have various degrees of differences, or even disputes, in the fields of human rights, trade, sovereignty and territorial issues, as well as some security issues at both regional and global levels.

However, due to different social and political systems and gaps in the countries’ stages of development, these differences or disputes, which will be addressed in the ongoing dialogue, are considered normal among experts.

“An important precondition for controlling differences is the attitude of seeking common ground while shelving differences, as well as respect for the other side’s core interests and concerns,” said Shi Yinhong, head of the Center for American Studies of Beijing-based Renmin University, adding that the two countries should be committed to jointly safeguarding global strategic stability.

Foreign affairs experts said differences between China and the US must not fall to the bargaining counters of some American political forces or be used as pretexts for meddling in China’s domestic affairs and containing the country’s development.

“The United States has always pressed China to make concessions, taking advantage of the imbalanced interdependence in the long history of their relations,” said Wang Fan, head of the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University.

Wang said it is the time for the US to conform to historical trends and make great changes in its policies toward China. The US should also make joint efforts with China to control differences and expand cooperation within the framework of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Foreign policy analysts in Beijing said that due to the importance of this year, the two countries will seek progress while maintaining stability in both economic and strategic fields.

The US will hold its presidential election, which occurs once every four years, and China is busy preparing for its once-in-a-decade National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will see a leadership hand-over. Both changes to the countries’ leadership will happen later this year.

China and the US may as well set aside those issues on which they differ greatly, said Qu.

“As for issues the countries can reach consensus on through talks, the two countries should try hard to make progress,” Qu added.


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