China Delegation in US for Strategic Dialogue

China Delegation in US for Strategic Dialogue
China Delegation in US for Strategic Dialogue

China and the United States held “candid and to-the-point” talks at the start of three days of cabinet-level meetings aimed at managing the highly complex relationship between the world’s two biggest economies, a senior US official said.

More than 400 Chinese officials are in Washington for the annual talks under the wide-ranging Strategic and Economic Dialogue framework, which will involve eight US cabinet secretaries.

The meetings come at a time of waning trust and widening differences between the two countries, even though they maintain robust economic ties worth $590 billion in two-way trade last year, Reuters reported.

China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang said on Monday the China-US talks have so far helped the world’s two largest economies identify and expand common interests and strengthen bilateral relations.

The US side, led on Monday by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, reiterated US concerns about China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The sides are expected to discuss a Bilateral Investment Treaty that has been seven years in discussion but has been held up by restrictions on both sides, while China is likely to press its bid to add the yuan to the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies.

On Monday night, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew hosted China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang for a private dinner, before the two the political and economic talks officially kick off on Tuesday.

The two sides will try to ease tensions by stressing areas of cooperation, including climate change, North Korea’s nuclear program, the fight against extremist groups and support for global development.

“We have agreed with the Chinese that we are going to try to expand those areas where our interests overlap and expand cooperation in those areas,” Blinken said, stressing that the aim is to narrow differences to avoid miscalculations.

Despite the considerable areas of tension, China is hoping for a smooth set of meetings to prepare for a visit to Washington by President Xi Jinping in September.