The first round of China-US consultations on the Asia-Pacific region, to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, will help the two countries know more about each other's strategic intentions in the region, reduce misunderstanding and avoid confrontation.
The meeting is one of the many results of the third round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington in May.
Since their interests converge in the region, China and the United States need to better understand each other's core interests and concerns, for it will enable them use their powers not only to serve their own interests, but also to safeguard regional peace and stability.
Because of its long-term presence and traditional alliance with some countries in the region, the US plays a leading role in the economic, political and strategic terrain of Asia Pacific. As an emerging economy with growing regional and international influence, China is willing to shoulder more responsibilities in the region.
Despite their high degree of interdependence in trade and strong will to cooperate on regional and international issues, it is no longer a secret that China and the US do not see eye to eye on some burning regional issues.
The bilateral consultation in Honolulu will enable the two countries to bridge their gaps on regional issues of mutual concern. It will help them seek harmony and deepen strategic mutual trust, too, which will help them avoid strategic misunderstanding and thus a possible clash.
The bilateral consultation is being held at a time when some countries are trying to create a storm over the South China Sea issue, counting on the US' backing to "balance" China. The US, on its part, seems to be fuelling the disputes. Going beyond their bilateral scope, the US and Japan held "two-plus-two" talks earlier this week, and urged China to play "a responsible and constructive role in regional stability".
Disregarding the rising temperatures in the South China Sea, the US and Vietnam have just announced that they would hold a joint navy drill soon.
US interference in the South China Sea issue will complicate matters further and create hurdles for the peaceful resolution of the disputes.
It is thus important that Beijing use the bilateral consultations as a platform to tell Washington that critical issues such as the one on South China Sea should be resolved through dialogues between parties directly related to the disputes.
If the two sides shoulder their responsibilities for regional peace, stability and development and cooperate in solving the problems, they will bring greater benefits for countries in Asia Pacific. But if the current state of affairs is allowed to continue, not only China and the US, but also the entire region will have to pay a dear price.
(China Daily 06/25/2011 page5)