WASHINGTON — Senior Chinese and US officials wrapped up their two-day high-level talks in Washington on June 24 with substantial outcomes in the strategic, economic and people-to-people fields.
During this year’s Seventh China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S & ED) and the Sixth China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of common concern were addressed, including climate change, interaction in the Asia-Pacific region, managing differences and sensitive situations, the United Nations and multilateral affairs, science, technology and innovation, green ports and ships, as well as the fight against illegal trade in wildlife.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said that during the two-day S & ED talks, the two sides conducted candid and in-depth exchanges of views on issues of long-term and strategic importance, and achieved over 70 valuable outcomes.
Wang said the success of this round of dialogue has laid a stronger foundation for the healthy and stable growth of bilateral ties and has helped prepare for President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to the United States in September.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi noted that on the strategic tracks, the two sides have achieved more than 120 results in a wide range of key areas.
The sides discussed how to build a new type of major-country relations, deepen practical cooperation, enhance cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, handle regional hot issues and global challenges, and manage differences and disputes in constructive ways, Yang said.
At the closing ceremony, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the depth and breadth of bilateral discussions were significant and that this year’s S & ED talks reflected a shared US-China commitment to cooperating in areas of common interest and seeking constructive solutions where the two sides have differences.
Kerry emphasized that the United States welcomes a stable, peaceful and prosperous China that plays a responsible role in global affairs.
During the talks, the sides attained 119 outcomes in seven areas, namely education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, women and youth affairs.
This year’s S & ED and CPE talks came amid a few hiccups in China-US relations due to the rift over the South China Sea and cyber security, and had therefore drawn worldwide attention as people were curious to see how the two great global powers would manage their disputes.
However, starting on the opening ceremony on June 23, both sides had reaffirmed their commitment to continuing cooperation and controlling divergences.
In his opening speech, US Vice-President Joe Biden said the United States, instead of fearing China’s rise, wants to see the Asian giant rise peacefully as it could be a significant asset for the region and the whole world. Biden added that whenever possible, China should be included at the table of writing the rules.
Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who headed the Chinese CPE team, also said that faced with the current complicated and volatile international situation, the two countries should and could work together on a wide range of issues.
With commitments and confidence from both sides to overcome differences and continue cooperation, impressive achievements have been made during this year’s consultations.
During this year’s talks, China and the United States discussed some new cooperation areas for the first time.
Officials from both countries held a special session on ocean protection under the framework of the seventh round of the S & ED, stressed their commitments to a conservation-minded approach to the ocean, and agreed to make joint efforts to explore opportunities for boosting such cooperation.
The efforts will involve these measures: to promote maritime research, development, maintenance and protection, to expand cooperation between maritime enforcement agencies from both countries, to combat illegal and unregulated fishing, etc.
At a joint press conference with Kerry on June 24, Yang expressed the hope that China and the United States will, based on the progress achieved, turn ocean protection into a new area of growing bilateral cooperation.
For his part, Kerry pledged that the United States would work together with China to strengthen cooperation in areas of ocean protection and sustainable maritime development.
As the two largest economies in the world, both China and the United States play significant roles in global affairs. During the two-day high-level talks, both sides agreed to further cooperation on issues critical to the welfare of human beings.
The two sides vowed to work together to support the African Union (AU) in building the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight epidemic diseases like Ebola.
According to Ren Minghui, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, since the end of last year, the AU has been talking with the Chinese and US governments about building a regional disease prevention and control system in Africa.
“Now, the three parties are exploring ways of further cooperation,” Ren said. “Based on a unified and integrated plan, China and the US are willing to offer their respective aid to help the African Union build this system, which will be the first regional disease surveillance system in the African continent.”
Regarding climate change, both countries have pledged to continue their efforts to tackle the global problem.
Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for global climate change talks, said that the two sides have specified 13 priority areas for cooperation, eight of which have already seen more than 30 projects inaugurated.
During this year’s talks, the sides also agreed to launch cooperation projects in the areas of shale gas, nuclear energy, clean energy, carbon capture, utilization and storage, as well as green trade.
Meanwhile, Xie said China and the United States will jointly convene a climate-smart and low-carbon cities summit in the US west coast city of Los Angeles in September this year to encourage both central governments and local authorities to get involved in the efforts to combat climate change.