China-U.S. dialogue requires pragmatism
Updated: 2011-05-11 17:38
The third annual China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue took place in Washington D.C. from May 9 to May 10 after Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January further enhanced the partnership between the two countries. The talks on May 9 alone showed that the dialogue has become more effective and practical.
In fact, China and the United States had reached consensus on many important issues and achieved concrete results during the first and second dialogues. The two countries openly discussed the problems facing bilateral economic and trade relations in hopes of achieving mutual benefit through further expanding and deepening cooperation. The dialogue is not only a high-level forum for the two sides to talk to each other but also an important platform for promoting pragmatic cooperation.
The theme of the third China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue is "Building a Comprehensive and Mutually Beneficial Economic Partnership," and there are four major issues and some specific problems it faces. Both sides want greater access to each other's markets. The United States hopes China can treat American companies equally and fairly when it comes to government procurement, while China hopes the United States can lift restrictions on Chinese investments.
It is obvious that China-U.S. relations are of strategic importance in the context of globalization. The interdependence of the two countries can be easily seen from the products in supermarkets, students in schools and the people's daily lives. However, many specific problems still need to be solved to further promote China-U.S. relations and to win public support for greater bilateral cooperation.
The history of China-U.S. relations shows that pragmatism promotes bilateral cooperation. It is not about one side overpowering the other side. Instead, pragmatism means that differences can be properly handled through talks, and problems can be solved through mutual concessions.
The reason why specific problems must be discussed to move forward step by step is that these problems are constantly changing. New problems will regularly appear in different stages. As these problems are also related to the interests of both sides, sometimes there needs to be changes and adjustments in the development mode.
The phenomena of "major principles" becoming more and more clear while "minor principle" becoming more and more complex has become a prominent feature of the status of China-U.S. relations. Nearly 30 officials from more than 20 departments from both parties participated in the current China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The dialogue between different officials from different levels and different fields will make "minor principles" clearer based on clarifying "major principles."
At present, several media groups are still focused on issues with relatively large complications. It seems that the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue will make progress only when those issues are resolved. Actually, judging from the previous round of the dialogues, promoting cooperation in fields where it is easier to find common ground and strengthening communication on certain difficult issues may be more practical.
For example, China and the United States issued the "China-U.S. Joint Statement on Energy Security Cooperation" during the previous round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue and agreed to strengthen cooperation in preventing and combating the illegal transport of nuclear and other relevant radioactive materials. In addition, the recent China-U.S. Human Rights Dialogue was also an agreement achieved during the previous round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Based on the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue mechanism and further communication and consultation, China and the United States can better understand each other's position on certain difficult issues and continuously promote solutions for specific problems, and gradually accumulate mutual trust during this process to ultimately ensure that China-U.S. relations move forward along the "mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win partnership" track.
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