Senior Dialogue Examines Framework of U.S.-China Relationship
High-ranking U.S. and Chinese officials concluded their second round of "Senior Dialogue" meetings December 8. The talks are billed by the State Department as "strategic discussions" that are designed "to look across the spectrum" of the U.S.-China relationship, anticipate issues and discuss a conceptual framework for a "shared future."
According to a statement released the same day by Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, the Senior Dialogue grew out of a suggestion by China President Hu Jintao to President Bush at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting in 2004 requesting talks "to look over the horizon and discuss the strategic framework of U.S.-China relations." The first round of discussions took place in Beijing in August. (See related article.)
The topics Zoellick and Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo explored at the second set of talks, held in Washington, included:
• Cooperative efforts for a secure and prosperous world that respects human rights and the rule of law;
• Ways in which China could work with the United States and others on challenges such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea and in Africa, Latin America and South and Central Asia;
• Overlapping interests in fighting terrorism, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, building energy security and reducing the risks of pandemic disease; and
• Problems regarding trade imbalances and the protection of intellectual property rights.
For more information on U.S. policy, see The United States and China.
Following is the text of the State Department release
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
December 8, 2005
Deputy Secretary Zoellick Statement on Conclusion of the Second U.S.-China Senior Dialogue
Following is a statement by Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick on the conclusion of the Second U.S.-China Senior Dialogue, held in Washington, D.C.
The second U.S.-China Senior Dialogue concluded today. We have had extensive discussions over two days. Tomorrow, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai and I will travel to Hyde Park to visit the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of the architects of the international system after World War II. I believe we have had a constructive interchange about how China and the United States can cooperate in the present international system, so as to work for a more secure and prosperous world that respects human rights and the rule of law.
I want to thank Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo for his leadership and open engagement. I also want to thank Mr. Zhu Zhixin, the Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), who joined us for part of the dialogue and who also held economic discussions with a U.S. delegation led by Josette S. Shiner, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs.
The purpose of the Senior Dialogue, which grew out of a suggestion by President Hu to President Bush last fall at an APEC meeting, is to look over the horizon and discuss the strategic framework of U.S.-China relations. Following an initial round of discussions in Beijing in August, I outlined the U.S. approach to Sino-American relations in a speech in New York in September. I noted that for more than thirty years the United States worked with others to draw China out of isolation and into the international system. As it becomes a major global player, we are now encouraging China to become a "responsible stakeholder" that will work with the United States and others to sustain, adapt, and advance the peaceful international system that has enabled its success.
This concept has spurred a useful debate in China about its role in the world and, in particular, China's relations with the United States. This strategic framework can help us identify mutual interests and guide our cooperation with China in a number of areas. For example, during this week's dialogue we discussed how China could work with the United States and others on challenges such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. Without always pursuing the same policies, we can still pursue the same policy goals with complementary approaches. We discussed our overlapping interests in fighting terrorism, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, building energy security, and reducing the risks of pandemic disease. We noted that by anticipating challenges and discussing problems openly, including in those areas where we may not agree, we are more likely to advance our mutual interests and manage our differences.
We also reviewed recent sub-dialogues on how the United States and China can better cooperate in Africa, and on the dangerous mix of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. We agreed to conduct similar discussions about Latin America and South and Central Asia. In all of these discussions, we will continue to urge China to consider how it can contribute to positive development. We also want to listen to the perspective of our Chinese colleagues.
As President Bush did when he traveled to China, we had discussions about the importance of freedom and human rights. We explained that the United States does not raise these issues to threaten or destabilize China, but rather because we believe expanded freedom is a natural and integral part of China's development. I noted that China itself has recently stressed that building the rule of law is central to its development strategy.
In the economic area, we discussed the problem of persistent imbalances in our trade and financial relationship, and areas of friction such as the protection of intellectual property rights. We noted that both of us share an interest in maintaining an open international trading system, while ensuring an open, fair two-way economic exchange between our countries.
The work between China and the United States - in a host of fora and exchanges - is important and ongoing. Strategic discussions such as the one we've just completed are designed to look across the spectrum of our relationship, anticipate issues, and discuss a conceptual framework for how we can make our shared future better for the American people, the Chinese people and the world. We hope this shared approach will lead to greater cooperation at the operational level.
We've agreed to continue the Dialogue next year. I want to thank Executive Vice Minister Dai and his delegation for their strong involvement and I look forward to our continued work together.