News / Asia

US, China Wrap Up Day 2 of Talks

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) speaks to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China, July 10, 2014.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) speaks to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China, July 10, 2014.
Shannon Van Sant

The second day of high-level talks between the United States and China concluded Thursday in Beijing and the two sides appeared to make little headway on a range of security and economic issues.

The annual U.S-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue gives both countries an opportunity to talk about bilateral relations.  

At a news conference, Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed the U.S. commitment to good relations with China.

“The U.S and China are committed to a new model of relations based on practical cooperation and constructive management of differences,” said Kerry.

Kerry said he only learned of an attempt by Chinese hackers to gain access to government personnel files after the conclusion of his meetings with Chinese leaders. He said no sensitive information appears to have been compromised in the hacking attacks, but said he had “frank” discussions with Chinese leaders on cyber security.

Common ground

Kerry said U.S. officials were able to find common ground with Beijing on several issues, including nuclear non-proliferation, the importance of the rule of law, the rise in tensions with China's neighbors and in-depth discussions on military to military talks. But he provided few details.

The highest profile agreement to come out of the talks was a series of deals on climate change. The partnership pacts involved companies and research organizations and the sharing of clean coal and carbon capture technologies.

On Thursday China State Councilor Yang Jiechi said that building better ties requires mutual respect.

He said creating a new relationship model between China and the United States requires us to respect each other, treat each other with sincerity, correctly view each other's strategic intentions, and avoid strategic misjudgment.

Thursday's talks began with a breakfast that included entrepreneurs from the United States and China.

At a time when there are continuing tensions between the two nations, many see economic cooperation as a key opportunity.

Global market

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew addressed the gathering, saying, "Today strengthening the commercial relationships remains an important test ahead of us. It's a way to create economic growth and jobs in our two countries and it's a way to help drive the global economy forward."

Following Thursday's meetings, Lew said China is committed to reducing market intervention and revaluation of its currency. He said steps also were taken towards the signing of a bilateral investment treaty.  

The U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter of 2014 by 2.9 percent. China’s grew by 7.4 percent during the same period, but that is an 18-month low for the country. After the 2008 financial crisis, huge Chinese government stimulus spending boosted its economy and helped lift the rest of the world. But on Wednesday, Beijing’s finance minister said those spending measures are over, and it is up to the United States to drive the global economy.

Later on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry told a gathering that academic freedoms and independent news media are key issues in the relationship between Washington and Beijing.

"And it's a partnership that has the potential to be even stronger when we understand that academic freedom and free press are not barriers to greater exchanges between our people -- they are the drivers of a better understanding of those exchanges. The story of US-China relations really can be one of genuine cooperation, and frankly a spectacular accomplishment," said Kerry.

Human rights

On Wednesday, a prominent Tibetan writer, Tsering Woeser, who has written about Tibetan rights issues, was placed under house arrest, after she had received an invitation to attend a dinner at the U.S. embassy while Secretary Kerry is in town. A spokesman for the state department said Kerry discussed human rights issues and the treatment of ethnic minorities in conversations with Chinese authorities.

Despite U.S. differences over China on these issues and increasing rivalry with China in economic power and military might, Kerry emphasized the potential for partnership between the two countries.  

“We recognize the need to avoid falling into a trap of a zero-sum competition. And that recognition is now driving our partnership on issues like climate change, wildlife trafficking to Afghanistan, to peacefully solving the Iranian nuclear issue.”  

China frequently has warned the United States against trying to “contain” its economic and diplomatic rise, and it views the U.S. “pivot” to Asia as part of a strategy of containment. U.S. officials routinely reject that characterization, and say they fully support the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous China.

Economic balance

During the annual talks, Beijing officials have insisted they are trying to find the right balance on advancing economic reforms, including exchange rate liberalization and market access.

The two days of talks are also focusing on other disputes, such as China's maritime disputes with its neighbors and U.S. concerns over China's human rights record.

At the first day of the dialogue Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized cooperating, saying confrontation between the U.S. and China would "definitely be a disaster."

Kerry said the United States and China have the ability to find common ground. He said Washington is not trying to contain China, but hopes it becomes "peaceful, stable and prosperous."

Meanwhile, a writer who advocates human rights in Tibet says authorities have placed her and her husband under house arrest in Beijing for Kerry's visit.

Tsering Woeser was kept from attending a dinner to which she was invited by the U.S. embassy.

Woeser was given an International Women of Courage Award by the State Department last year. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said officials are concerned by her reported house arrest and are looking into the matter.

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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 10, 2014 1:22 PM
Better to have talks than not to have talks. Don't expect much can be achieved.

by: Anonymous
July 10, 2014 10:18 AM
" instead accusing the U.S. of conducting its own espionage against Beijing."
China is unashamed saying this

by: Maximo from: Mosman, Sydney Australia
July 10, 2014 10:13 AM
It is important that China press the US over its habitual human rights violations, assists the nation to reduce its bloated prison population and recommend an end to the harassment of whistle blowers and journalists. I think most people would like to see an America that is more respectful of privacy and an end to their cyber terrorism against friend, foe and all civilian populations. Regarding the manipulation of currency and financial market - the US has promised to clean up the corruption in the past but we have not seen firm evidence of this yet.

by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
July 10, 2014 6:42 AM
It is possible that territorial disputes involving China are due to an economic not military expansionism of China. This is an important qualification. For China to seek to drill for oil and gas in disputed regions may be a corollary effect of its significant economic expansion. I have suggested through the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Canada, that China should offer to enter into revenue sharing agreements for petroleum wells drilled in disputed territories. This would be a first step to settling territorial disputes and would enable all concerned parties to benefit from petroleum exploration according to their territorial claims. I am sure under a revenue sharing agreement for discovered petroleum that all sides would see the benefits of petroleum exploration in regions under territorial dispute.
In Response

by: william li from: canada
July 10, 2014 9:51 AM
@Donald, yes it IS what china proposed to Viet and Finos. we agree to share the oil under the sea but the territory belongs to China. however, greedy Finos and Viet refuse to do so, because they already have 100s oil wells in the disputed area, they refuse to do the same.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 10, 2014 9:20 AM
Hey Donald,... There isn't "one" intelligent lawyer in the US or the world, that'll say with documented facts, that the Chinese "EEZ" and the "Nine Dash Line" violates any "Law of the Sea" or any other law anywhere on earth..... Now why would China negotiate on the land, sea and air, that they own?..... because the US thinks so? .... REALLY?

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