U.S., China Explore Joint Efforts for Tackling Global Concerns

By Jane Morse
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - China and the United States took another step toward greater cooperation on pressing transnational issues with a second session of the China-U.S. Global Issues Forum, held in Beijing on August 9-10.

The two countries released a joint press statement August 17.

The objective of the Global Issues Forum is to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in areas of concern that cross international boundaries, and to explore new avenues for joint work on a global basis.  The forum also seeks to enhance China-U.S. cooperation on global issues in multilateral and other international organizations.

The forum's inaugural session took place April 13, 2005.  (See related article.)

China's assistant minister of foreign affairs, Cui Tiankai, and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky led their respective interagency delegations.  Relevant bureaus and offices of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, as well as other Chinese and U.S. agencies,  participated in the discussions.

Among the issues considered were energy security and clean energy; public health; humanitarian assistance; trafficking in persons; environmental conservation and sustainable development; and cooperation on financial aid for international economic development.

In the energy area, the two sides discussed ways to deal with the soaring price of oil and its negative impact on the global economy.  They considered various palliative measures, including international cooperation on development of clean energy sources; initiatives relating to more efficient use of existing fuels; research on new energy technology and collaboration to improve access to cleaner energy in poorer regions of the world.

Forum participants studied several areas of potential collaboration in pursuit of sustainable development:  protecting biodiversity by stemming illegal trade in wildlife and timber; combating climate change and air pollution through the development of advanced technology and clean energy; and reducing water pollution.  They also discussed ways to cooperate in the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and through the United States' Global Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking.  (See related article.)

Sessions on public health sought to increase bilateral cooperation to improve surveillance, prevention and control of infectious diseases.  The two sides reviewed recent developments related to avian influenza and malaria and discussed policy and technical tools to combat outbreaks of disease.  (See Health.)

The two countries also discussed ways to combat trafficking in persons, particularly through cooperation in regional and multilateral forums.  They focused on protecting trafficking victims, prosecuting traffickers and organizing prevention campaigns.  (See Human Trafficking.)

In a session on humanitarian assistance and international development, officials compared notes on experiences in dealing with crises.  They discussed possible areas for collaboration, assistance finance mechanisms and ways to increase aid effectiveness.  (See Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees.)  

The text of the joint statement from the forum meeting in Beijing is available on the U.S. Embassy in Beijing's Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The United States and China.