'Strategic and Economic Dialogue’ Launched By US & China
Barack Obama - Hillary Clinton
Top US and Chinese officials have launched a "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" on Monday for addressing the key issues ranging from their response to the global financial crisis, climate change and nuclear proliferation to threat from extremists.
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner, Chinese Vice- Premier Wang Qishan and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo each addressed the opening session of the two-day meeting.
"The relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world. That reality must underpin our partnership. That is the responsibility we bear," Obama said.
Noting that the United States and China are the world's two largest energy-consuming countries, Obama pushed for more cooperation from the Chinese government to help reduce carbon emissions.
"Let's be frank: neither of us profits from a growing dependence on foreign oil, nor can we spare our people from the ravages of climate change unless we cooperate. Common sense calls upon us to act," he said.
Obama also acknowledged the sharp differences between the two countries on the issue of human rights, admitting that he has no "illusions that the United States and China will agree on every issue."
"All people should be free to speak their minds. That includes ethnic and religious minorities in China," he said.
Speaking for the Chinese delegation, Vice Premier Wang promised continued "intensive dialogue ... to tackle the (global) financial crisis".
"Mankind's pursuit of... progress never ceases," he said. "I'm confident this crisis will finally be over."
In a joint op-ed article in Monday's Wall Street Journal, Clinton and Geithner said the two-day meeting should help "develop a new framework for US-China relations".
"Few global problems can be solved by the US or China alone. And few can be solved without the US and China together," they said. Those problems include the global economy, the health of the global environment, the stability of fragile states and the solution to non-proliferation challenges.
On the economy, Clinton and Geithner praised the United States and China for taking "bold steps" to deal with the global economic crisis.
On security issues, they highlighted the "provocative actions of North Korea", stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and economic possibilities in Africa.