US hopes key talks will mend strained ties

By Cheng Guangjin and Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-17 07:02
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The United States is banking on a key bilateral dialogue mechanism, which is scheduled to be held late May, to improve strained ties, Washington's top envoy to Beijing said on Tuesday.

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"The US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue gives the United States and China a perfect opportunity to sit down and again to find our shared interests. It's a very important time for the US-China relationship," the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, told reporters during a visit to Tianjin, the fifth largest trading partner of the US within the country.

"We'll take advantage of that," he added.

On many occasions, the US has cited shared interests, which are helpful but not enough to effectively repair the relationship unless the US learns to respect China's core concerns, a US-studies expert told China Daily on Tuesday.

"The key point is that the US government should adjust its policies towards China on contentious issues to seek common ground while putting aside differences," said Shi Yinhong of the Renmin University of China.

"Pressing China will only result in (more) resistance," Shi said.

On Monday, the White House said relations between the two powers were in "good shape" but acknowledged some differences, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"We have a mature relationship with China, but I would not describe it as a relationship of tension," said Jeff Bader, US President Barack Obama's adviser on ties with Beijing.

Also on Monday, US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg commented that a recent trip to Beijing with Bader had resulted in "productive exchange on a broad range of important issues with the Chinese side."

"None of us expects one conversation to be the answer to the long-standing challenges, but there is a commitment on both sides to engage and discuss," Steinberg said.

Since a new international order was taking shape and world powers were moving toward a balanced relationship, the US needed to adjust its relations with other nations, including China, the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said in Beijing on Monday.

"Indeed, the US government should divert its attention from disputes with China, which hurt China's core interests, to enhancing cooperation on issues of common concern, such as trade, energy and environmental protection," said Shi.

"Flowery rhetoric alone will not fundamentally improve the relationship," Shi said.

Wang Xiaohan in Tianjin contributed to the story