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Discussions between China and US offer opportunities | Updated: 2017-09-27 20:28

Frequent high-level consultations and dialogues have over the years proved an effective means for China and the United States to communicate and iron out their differences on a number of bilateral and international issues.

Considering that the two countries have different views on many issues, these high-profile contacts have helped facilitate better understanding of each other's intentions and enabled them to avoid any miscalculation or misstep.

Now, with bilateral trade frictions and their divergences over the best way to address the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear weapons program becoming more prominent, there is an urgent need for China and the US to step up such communication to narrow their divergences.

Thus it is both timely and welcome that Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who is attending a series of cultural activities in the US this week, is scheduled to co-chair the first round of the China-US Social and Cultural Dialogue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on Thursday. And that Tillerson is scheduled to begin a three-day visit to Beijing the same day.

Just prior to his visit, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed the pressing bilateral trade issues with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Tuesday.

With each side having different priorities and issues of concern, there have been intimations of a coming trade war. But frank discussions will have hopefully fostered understanding and accommodation of each other’s position that will enable them to avoid such a harmful scenario.

Tillerson's visit will also enable the two sides to discuss ways to better coordinate their approaches toward Pyongyang's reckless ambition to pursue nuclear and missile capabilities, a pursuit that is pushing the situation on the peninsula toward tipping point.

Although Beijing and Washington have intensified their cooperation on the peninsula issue in recent months, it will of necessity again be to the fore in the discussions between Chinese leaders and Tillerson later this week, since any misjudgment of the situation would likely lead to a miscalculation that would have disastrous consequences.

As important players in attempts to resolve the issue, China and the US need to engineer a convergence in their approaches and jointly send a positive signal to the outside world that they are committed to easing the tensions through peaceful means.

And as long as the two countries bring to their discussions a willingness to foster a spirit of cooperation and talk candidly so as to find common ground, there is no reason why they cannot turn the process of addressing their differences into opportunities to deepen mutual trust and expand bilateral ties.


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