BEIJING -- China and the United States on Thursday morning kicked off their
first strategic economic dialogue, the latest sign of bilateral efforts to boost
their long-term relationship.
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (R) greets US Labour Secretary
Elaine Chao (C) as US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (2nd L), US
Trade Representative Susan Schwab (L), and US Health Secretary Michael
Leavitt (2nd R) watch at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December
14, 2006, ahead of their strategic economic dialogue. High-powered talks
between Chinese and US economic chiefs began here as part of efforts by
the US to resolve a wide range of trade disputes between the two nations.
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and the US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
co-chaired the dialogue as special representatives of President Hu Jintao and
President George W. Bush.
"The dialogue is a significant event in China-US trade relationship.It is
conducive to enhancing trust and dispelling suspicion to strengthen the dialogue
between China and the United States in the economic field," Wu said at the
beginning of the meeting.
She said the dialogue would focus on the discussion of "global, strategic and
long-term" macro-economic issues of common concern.
The United States would like to forge mutually-beneficial trade ties with
China as China has integrated into the global economic system, Paulson was
quoted as saying in a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Paulson hailed the dialogue as a platform for the two countries to cope with
strategic issues in economic relationship, the statement said.
The two-day dialogue focused on "China's development road and economic
development strategy," the statement said.
The meetings are the first under a twice-a-year strategic economic dialogue
mechanism, which was launched in the Chinese capital in September.
The dialogue came at a time that China-US trade relationship may enter a
more complicated and subtle stage as the five-year interim period after China's
WTO accession came to an end on December11. That means China would face more
intense foreign competitions in various fields.
"That's why China and the United States held the strategic economic dialogue
at this time," said Yan Xuetong, a researcher with Chinese prestigious Tsinghua
University. "The dialogue will help avoid the escalation of the trade disputes."