Europe happy to see close bond building between China and US

By Zhang Haizhou and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-05-12 08:15
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LONDON - European countries should be happy when China and the United States - the European Union's (EU) top two trading partners - achieve "tangible results" during bilateral talks, say experts.

As the two countries wrapped up the two-day China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington on Tuesday, analysts here said a good relationship between Beijing and Washington is clearly in Europe's interest.

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"The EU enjoys good relations with both the People's Republic of China and the US. Therefore, it is generally in Europe's interest for the PRC and the US to enjoy good relations with each other," said Thomas Kane, a senior lecture in international politics at Britain's University of Hull.

Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner signed the US-China Comprehensive Framework for Promoting Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth and Economic Cooperation on Tuesday.

The framework is in line with both countries' ongoing efforts to restructure their economies to achieve sustainable growth.

The third round of the S&ED came just three days ahead of the second round of the China-EU high-level strategic dialogue.

Compared to previous S&ED sessions, this one had a wider scope and included a joint session with military officers and diplomats.

But for Europeans, said Kane, trade "would have to be" the most important issue.

The EU's total trade volume with the US was more than 412 billion euros ($588 billion) in 2010. With China, it reached 387 billion euros, according to EU statistics.

"Some European policymakers may hope to take advantage of the US' occasional disputes with China in order to strengthen their own ties with Beijing at Washington's expense, but, on the whole, the EU would prefer a peaceful, cooperative, well-regulated international environment," he added, labeling China-US ties "uniquely important" in world politics.

The bilateral ties are also "a complex, interdependent relationship", according to the BBC, which said attendees at the S&ED were discussing "the most difficult issues".

"Both sides say they want to find common ground as they address diplomatic and economic differences," the BBC commented.

The two countries have also agreed to jointly explore new cooperation opportunities through policy exchanges and coordination to achieve mutual benefits and win-win cooperation and better realize respective goals in terms of restructuring and the transformation of economic development patterns.

Despite these outcomes, Steve Tsang, a professor of contemporary Chinese studies and director of the China Policy Institute at the UK-based University of Nottingham, said: "The process of the dialogue is more important than the solution."

He said the S&ED is also good for Europe.

"Regular dialogue can improve China-US relationships," he said. "We don't want China and the US to get into difficult relationships, which does not accord with the interests of Europe."

Tsang said Europe and the US "both hope" China can "work together with the international society" during its rise, which can be stopped by "nothing".

Besides Wang and Geithner on the economic track, the two-day dialogue was co-chaired, on the strategic track, by State Councilor Dai Bingguo and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.