Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Indeed a fruitful outcome

By Tao Wenzhao (China Daily) Updated: 2013-07-15 07:13

As the most important China-US consultation and cooperation mechanism, the S&ED has succeeded in opening new avenues

The just concluded fifth round of annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue between China and the United States was successful to say the least. Among its achievements are 91 specific agreements on the strategic front. But there is more to the fifth S&ED than just the positive outcomes.

First, the dialogue was a logical follow-up of the talks between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama at Sunnylands, California, in June where they agreed to build a new type of major power relationship between the two countries. At the just-concluded S&ED, the two countries vowed to take concrete measures to give shape to the agreement reached between the two heads of state, and emphasized the importance of expanding and deepening cooperation, and narrowing differences to ensure that bilateral relations benefit the two peoples.

An important feature of the new relationship is no conflict, no confrontation. Since confrontations and conflicts have their roots in differences, it is important to properly manage them. In fact, if differences are correctly handled, they can be turned into opportunities for cooperation.

For example, after former National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden exposed Washington's surveillance program, the two sides did not point the finger at each other and, instead, held candid and constructive discussions, and agreed to hold more talks on international norms to manage cyberspace. This is a good start.

Second, that the Strategic Security Dialogue and the first Cyber Working Group meeting - marked by one-on-one discussions - were held along with the fifth S&ED shows that the two countries are keen on managing bilateral relations with an eye on long-term benefits. The S&ED is the most important of the more than 90 mechanisms for consultation and cooperation between the two countries, and a guideline for one-on-one talks. In other words, one-on-one mechanisms are meant to implement the results of the S&ED.

Third, the two sides reached a consensus on a number of important issues. For example, they have agreed to start discussion on China-US Bilateral Investment Treaty, which had not seen much progress over the past nine years, and the US also promised to offer an open investment environment for Chinese enterprises.

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