Chinese officials will hold their first round of high-level strategic and economic talks with the Obama administration this week in Washington, a two-day event U.S. officials say they hope will lead to greater economic, environmental and security cooperation between the two countries.
U.S. officials say the Obama administration's first annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China comes at an important time for the two countries as they work to recover from the global financial crisis and seek opportunities to work together on issues such as climate change, trade and terrorism.
The meeting on Monday and Tuesday will be co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. China is sending a massive delegation of 150 officials, the largest it has ever sent to the United States.
Beijing's official entourage will be led by State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver an address at the beginning of the discussions on Monday.
The two-track talks - economic and strategic - are a broader extension of economic talks that began under the previous U.S. administration of George W. Bush.
In April, Mr. Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to begin holding the annual meeting this year and alternate the venue between Washington and Beijing each year.
Obama officials say that one of the most important messages they will take to the meeting is that while the U.S. economy is going to recover, its economy will not driven by Americans buying foreign goods.
They also say they will urge China to rely less on exports and more on expanding its domestic markets to fuel its economic growth.
Business representatives and industry analysts say they are hopeful the meeting will see progress, but do not expect earth-shattering results.
Erin Ennis, vice-president of The U.S.-China Business Council in Washington says that much of the time during the meetings is likely to be spent getting used to their new structure.
It has the potential I think to make a great deal of progress, but we also need to keep in mind that there is a lot on this agenda and having discussions, even over two days on this number of issues, is really only going to begin to scratch the surface.
Ennis says she is very hopeful the two sides may find some common ground in addressing the issue of climate change. She says Energy Secretary Steven Chu's recent trip to China and various meetings between the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, Todd Stern, and Chinese officials have laid a good foundation for the meeting.
Louis B. Schwartz, an international trade attorney and president of China Strategies agrees.
He notes that China is rapidly embracing a clean energy policy, much faster than many realize, and that there is great potential for cooperation between the two sides.
At this point, at least, there is boundless opportunity and I really believe that we really should open up each others markets to the other.
Opening up markets - be it in the field of clean energy technology or projects linked to China's massive $586-billion government stimulus is a key message U.S. officials say they will take to the meetings this week.
China says that during the talks its officials will urge Washington to adopt policies that protect the value of Chinese investments in the United States.
China is Washington's biggest creditor and holds more than $800 billion worth of U.S. Treasury securities.