Leaders optimistic as key Sino-US talks start
WASHINGTON - China and the United States have far more shared interests than differences, and nothing can hold back the momentum of cooperation, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said on Monday. He made the remarks at the opening of the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in the US capital.
The Chinese team is led by Wang and State Counselor Dai Bingguo. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lead the US team.
The focus will be on trade, investment and finance during the two-day talks, as well as foreign policy. Both sides hope to build on the progress made during President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington in January. That visit helped smooth relations that had been strained last year over issues such as US arms sales to Taiwan.
"With vision and foresight, the two presidents opened a new page in China-US relations," Wang said.
Leaders from both sides sounded upbeat on the talks, emphasizing trust and common ground while trying to narrow differences.
Geithner said that sound China-US relations will benefit not only the two countries, but also the world economy.
Speaking in Chinese, you fu tong xiang, you nan tong dang (meaning the two countries should enjoy benefits and share difficulties together), he said: "Our ability to work together is important to the overall health and stability of the global economy.
Clinton said "We need to better understand each other, build trust to work to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation," when she highlighted the fact that military representatives are joining the dialogue for the first time.
US Vice-President Joe Biden said the two sides "have to be honest with each other and find common ground, including on sensitive issues, to avoid miscalculation". He welcomed Chinese investment in the US and the more than 50,000 jobs it created.
Both Biden and Clinton acknowledged that the two countries have differences over human rights.
Dai made an evocative speech highlighting that cooperation between the two countries will benefit future generations. "I am standing here addressing you as a 70-year-old man, an age when I should enjoy the company of my children and grandchildren....
"I am doing this (attending the meeting) to implement the consensus of our presidents for the achievement of one lofty goal, to make our two countries and people forever good friends and good partners, and to enable our children and children's children to live in peace and happiness.
"Could we ever let them down? The answer is a definite no," said Dai.