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Features - Editor, 2 February 2009

Presidents of China and United States Agree On Senior-Level Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue



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Following a telephonic discussion between Chinese President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama on Friday 30 January, it has been revealed that both sides have expressed their interest in strengthening ties between the two countries with regard to political, economic and security issues. As the world grapples with an economic crisis that is having far-reaching consequences, all parties concerned are confident that improved high-level dialogue between the United States and China will be mutually beneficial.

In a statement to the Yomiuri Shimbun, an on-line news provider, a U.S. State Department official noted that the U.S. Government believes that “comprehensive bilateral exchanges at the senior-most levels are vital to the creation of a more positive, cooperative relationship between the U.S. and China.” To achieve this the Obama-administration proposes upgrading the bilateral discussions that have taken place in the past, to regular dialogues between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and United States Vice President Joe Biden, alternating visits between the two countries.

Previous dialogue between China and the United States often produced unsatisfactory results, sometimes due to the fact that key-decision makers were not present and also because discussions were mainly limited to economic issues. Moving ahead, the Obama-administration is keen to pursue a comprehensive dialogue with China which would very likely focus on economic issues which are of global concern, but are likely to also include discussions on political, security, and even military issues.

For his part, President Hu Jintao has expressed his country’s readiness to work along with the United States to strengthen dialogue, promote mutual trust and expand Sino-U.S. cooperation, while at the same time taking into consideration that the core interest of the respective countries should be respected by one another.

The telephone conversation that took place between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Friday confirmed the commitment to promoting mutual interests between the two countries that are widely considered to be the world’s most important economies. The upcoming G20 summit being hosted by London in April will no doubt present opportunities for both China and the United States to cement their commitment to working together more closely, as well as their commitment to participating in effectively dealing with the current global economic crisis.

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