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Four US-China dialogues already proving their worth

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-09 07:52

That the relationship between China and the United States comes under strain from time to time is most often a result of one of them misinterpreting the other's intentions.

That is why the four high-level dialogue mechanisms, which were agreed during President Xi Jinping's visit to the US in April, are both pragmatic and important, as they can help the two sides avoid any misunderstandings by enabling them to properly discuss and manage their differences and disputes.

The last of the first round of dialogues-on law enforcement and cyber security-was held on Friday in Washington, with the two sides agreeing to further cooperate on repatriating suspected criminals, and to work together to combat drug trafficking and strengthen cyber security-outcomes that reflect the call of Xi last month for countries to jointly tackle transnational crimes and cyber security challenges and advance common and comprehensive security.

It is natural that China and the US do not see eye to eye on every issue. But so long as they take each other's major interests into account and keep the channels of communication open, there is no reason why they cannot forge a strong and friendly bilateral relationship.

For instance, one of the reasons the cyber security dialogue was initiated was the hacking attacks on US companies and government agencies, which, despite Beijing's consistent and strong denials of any involvement, Washington alleged were sponsored by China.

These accusations have long been an irritant in bilateral relations. However, the dialogue last week served to clarify the situation and help end the altercation, as both sides pledged to jointly crack down on cyber crimes and continue to implement their consensus on cyber security cooperation, including the agreement that neither side will conduct or support the cyber theft of intellectual property.

Likewise, the pledge of closer cooperation on repatriation will address China's concerns that the US could become a safe haven for corrupt Chinese officials who have fled the country.

It is heartening that such frank exchanges have been the hallmark of the first round of four dialogues between the US and China, since building a truly cooperative partnership between the two sides requires mutual trust and respect, and these can only be established by talking sincerely with one another to dispel misperceptions and suspicions. Addressing their concerns head-on in their talks will enable each to better understand the other's intentions.

And, after all, as President Xi put it, there are a thousand reasons to make the relationship work, and no reason to break it.

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