Foreign and Military Affairs

China-US talks focus on issues in Asia-Pacific

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-28 08:24
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BEIJING - China and the United States held their first round of consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs over the weekend, which inaugurated a new mechanism for the two countries to coordinate their stances and avoid strategic misjudgments, experts said.

Co-chaired by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the one-day closed-door consultations were held in Honolulu on Saturday, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Following recent confrontations in the Asia-Pacific region, the meeting not only had great significance for China-US ties, but also for the stability of the entire region, analysts said.

Cui called the meeting "friendly, candid and constructive", saying it was the outcome of the third round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues in May, according to Xinhua News Agency.

They agreed to use the consultation mechanism as a platform to keep close contact and coordinate on the regional situation and respective policies to advance bilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and play an active role in safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity, he added.

Campbell said he held "open and frank" discussions with his Chinese counterpart, with the goal of "attaining better understanding of each other's intentions, policies and actions toward the Asia-Pacific region".

"The United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous and successful China to play a greater role in regional and world affairs," Campbell told a news briefing after the consultation.

The two sides discussed issues related to the Asia-Pacific, as well as each other's objectives at a series of meetings, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional forum, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' meeting to be held in Hawaii, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the East Asian Summit, Campbell added.

Analysts said a stable China-US relationship and enhanced interaction will also benefit stability and development throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Qin Yaqing, vice-president of China Foreign Affairs University, said the consultations "are not seeking a 'G2' or a leading role for China and the US in regional affairs", Qin said.

Instead, it is a way to promote interaction between the two countries through enhanced communication, coordination and mutual trust, said Qin.

China and the US should have more cooperation in the region, where a "stable bilateral China-US relationship also benefits the stability of the Asia-Pacific region", Qin said.

According to Reuters, Campbell said the US delegation noted that China's military expansion had raised concerns, but hoped greater transparency and dialogue would help ease those concerns.

The two delegations also discussed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Campbell said he asked China to urge the DPRK to deal responsibly and appropriately with the Republic of Korea without provocation.

Tao Wenzhao, a researcher on Sino-US relations at Tsinghua University, said the two countries should play the role of "firefighters" in regional conflicts, and not "pour oil onto the flames".

It's also important that the two countries take into account each other's feelings, said Tao, noting that frequent joint military exercises between the US and its allies in the region will only "cast a shadow" on bilateral relations.