Treasuring mutual trust

Updated: 2013-03-20 07:17

(China Daily)

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The meeting between President Xi Jinping and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew so soon after China's leadership transition was a sign that both sides are committed to forging a stable bilateral relationship.

Against the backdrop of the continuing global economic uncertainties, the world's two largest economies have signaled that they are facing up to the challenge of properly managing their many differences.

The improvement in economic relations in recent years has greatly benefited the US' economic recovery. For example, China has been the fastest-growing market for US exports over the past decade, and the pace of growth has accelerated in recent years.

As China pushes ahead with its domestic demand-oriented economic restructuring it will boost the demand for US imports, which will be a boon to the US' struggling manufacturers. And more demand for US imports, together with the increasing Chinese investment in the United States, means more jobs in the US.

In the wake of the global financial crisis the two nations have also enhanced cooperation in promoting a more healthy global economic and financial order within the framework of the existing international organizations, which has made their cooperation more meaningful and far-reaching.

Differences remain however. On the economic agenda alone, the world's two largest economies have locked horns over market rules and protectionist intervention. And China has urged the US to relax its restrictions on high-tech exports in order to better balance bilateral trade, while Washington is pressuring Beijing on the yuan's exchange rate.

But it is not just economic issues that require greater communication and cooperation.

Security issues can also touch a nerve and spark a war of words. Cyberattacks are the most recent example, with officials from both countries accusing the other of being a cyberthreat.

History shows that Sino-US relations are often damaged by politically motivated moves in the US, especially when the US economy is down in the dumps. However, such political posturing and maneuvering is detrimental to the healthy development of bilateral relations, and given the global economic and security environment the two countries need each other's support if they want to better serve their own interests.

Tuesday's meeting shows the two sides are willing to discuss their differences in a constructive manner and are looking for ways to bridge them. It is to be hoped this momentum will continue.

(China Daily 03/20/2013 page8)