News / USA

China-US Talks Crucial to Repair Relations

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, July 10, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, July 10, 2014.
Shannon Van Sant

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top administration officials concluded their visit to China on Thursday for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, but did not report any breakthroughs. Their trip came at a key moment in U.S. China relations which have been tested by many events over the last year.

Common ground

In his closing statement Kerry said China and the U.S. found common ground on climate change, nuclear non-proliferation, North Korea and the importance of the rule of law among other issues.

For the world's two biggest economies, finding common ground on important issues has been a struggle, and Xiaohe Cheng, a Professor of International Relations at Renmin University, says Kerry’s visit came at a crucial time.

“I think China realized it needs to stabilize its relationship with the United States, and I think it realized this is a good opportunity to stabilize its relationship with the United States,” Xiaohe Cheng said.

More hacking allegations

U.S. China relations were again tested this week, with new media reports that Chinese hackers tried to infiltrate databases containing the personnel files of U.S. government employees. China denied the charge. Beijing had already canceled a working group due to take place this week on cyber security issues. That move was in response to a U.S. decision to indict five Chinese military officers for launching cyber attacks on American institutions.

China’s territorial claims have also roiled Sino-U.S. relations over the last year.  China’s declaration of an air defense zone over waters contested with Japan and its construction of a billion dollar oil rig in the South China Seas inspired protests from its neighbors and the United States.

Fostering positive relations

Despite all of the tensions, Chinese state-backed media coverage of the meetings this week was mostly positive, with the People’s Daily writing that officials “made positive achievements and released important information for improving and developing U.S.-China relations.” The newspaper went on to state that the “people-to-people exchange has also consolidated the foundation of U.S.-China friendship.”

While few concrete achievements were announced at the meetings’ conclusion, Cheng said they were likely constructive.

“I walked away with the strong impression that China and the U.S. relationship would not be so bad as we had thought and may improve a little bit because in Xi Jinping’s speech he attached great importance on China and U.S. relations,” he stated.

Still, China’s increasingly assertive stance in foreign affairs, particularly over its territorial claims, may further challenges bilateral ties. Cheng said territorial disputes that were once between China and its neighbors now involve the United States. Inside China, some observers blame the U.S. for attempting to contain and encircle China. Outside China, analysts blame the increased tensions on China’s aggressive actions in disputed waters, such as its deployment of a massive oil rig offshore Vietnam.

“These are issues between China and some its neighbor nations, but they have come more to do with the China U.S. relations, because the U.S. as a third party is deeply involved with these issues,” explained Xiaohe Cheng.

The next high-level meeting between the two countries' leaders is expected to be in November, when President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the APEC Economic Leaders' meeting.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: William li from: Canada
July 13, 2014 12:16 AM
VOA is such biased. Why you always forget to mention that democratic Taiwan also claims Diaoyu islands, nine dash line in South China Sea, Tibet, xinjiang and whole Mongolia?
You try to make China looks bad, but actually China's territory is even smaller than what Taiwan claims! Figure it out! China is not aggressive, China is only acting to protect her legitimate territories!


by: Sopheap from: Cambodia
July 12, 2014 7:58 PM
I wish USA come n commonly talk with all our non-negotiated politician both the government n the oppositon for the cambodian progressive as well as a part of the peace of the world.


by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 11, 2014 1:22 PM
The US and China have a complete different way of handling the media. China can control its media (although nobody knows to what degree of success) and the US cannot. Hence, the public's perception is entirely different in two countries. US administration has to please Congress and Congress has to get votes. None of this complication takes place in China.

In Response

by: Remie from: Canada
July 13, 2014 1:12 PM
@ William lie,
Haha, you must be joking. Western media shows both sides but China lacks solid proof of claim. But in Chinese news they are very vague on evidence and straight out lie. Any ways why does South sea need security? There was never any trouble until China cause it. Remember it's the SEA and not Chinese lake. UNCLOS is asking China to explain 9 dash line but China refuse to because they NOTHING

In Response

by: William li from: Canada
July 13, 2014 12:12 AM
@remi, clearly western media is more biased than the Chinese one. At least the Chinese media show you evidences from both sides, but western media never showed any evidences from China's side!
And China definitely has more right to claim the South China Sea! And only China can keep SCS in stable, because once China fully controls it, no other country dare to challenge it any more thus we have a final peace there, however neither viet or Finos has the ability to keep SCS secure!

In Response

by: remie from: canada
July 12, 2014 6:47 AM
@biasbuster,
western media is not perfect but far better then Chinese media. What I read in Chinese media is way one sided. Philippines and Vietnam have more rights in those water then china . They have history and international rights but in Chinese media they twist evidence and ignore international law. Chinese bias media, again, make Japan to be aggressive when clearly china is the only trouble maker in the region next to north Korea. Western media is very credible compare to your Chinese lies.




In Response

by: biasbuster
July 11, 2014 6:50 PM
I used to think US media is relatively fair and balanced. Not anymore. They can be every bit as biased and deceitful as China's if not more. Witness past month's of totally biased and misinformed reporting on the S. and E. China Seas conflicts. Let's see some balanced views on U.S. cyber spying, sabre-rattling at other people's doorsteps, hegemony on the seas, turning a blind eye to Vietnamese and Philippine unilateral encroachments on disputed islands, and coddling of Japanese re-militarization. Then maybe US news forums will regain some credibility and the US some moral respect.


by: william li from: canada
July 11, 2014 11:15 AM
I demand chinese government to protect the whole chiese territories, including south china sea, diaoyu islands! never give up one inch of our motherland!


by: Wangchuk from: NY
July 11, 2014 11:08 AM
While it's important for China/US to have normal relations, the US should not overlook China's egregious human rights violations in China, Tibet & Xinjiang. Diplomacy is not an excuse to look the other way when the CCP violates the rights of Chinese, Tibetans & Uighurs. For example, the US should host a multilateral conference on Tibet to promote human rights in Tibet.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 11, 2014 10:39 AM
China reiterated again, that it believes in peaceful discussions to solve any problems with any country including the US, and solving all territorial disputes with it's neighbors by peaceful discussions, and believes in the sovereignty of all countries borders, including their own.... (and no matter what Kerry said, China kept repeating the same statement).... What part of that statement, didn't Kerry understand?

China reiterated again, that China will never ever give up "one inch" of the motherland again, wherever that sovereign "inch" of air, sea or land, may be.... "No Compromise and No Concessions" on any "one inch" of the Chinese motherland air, sea, or land..... but China will take part in peaceful discussions on it? ...... REALLY?

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 13, 2014 12:36 PM
Mr. Hoang, WHY should China arbitrate anything, on their own sovereign land they possess? ... (and I'm quite sure), if the Chinese claims on their land, sea, and air, were violations of any International laws, the US would be the first country bringing the charges of violations to the UN and International Courts, don't you agree?

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
July 13, 2014 8:48 AM
The problem is that motherland means other countries' territories. China based their motherland sovereign unilaterally and not by international laws. China wants to settle dispute bilaterally and not go through international arbitration because China has no basis for its cow tongue claim. China uses gun diplomacy to settle its unfounded claim.


by: mememine69 from: toronto
July 11, 2014 8:34 AM
Determined "believers" are 100% certain that science is 100% certain climate change will be a deadly crisis but 32 years of "95%" from science proves you eager "believers" and news editors and politicians wanted this misery to have been real. Why? Who's the neocon?

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