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Report Calls for 'Affirmative' US-China Agenda

A private report on U.S. - China relations urges the United States to support China's ambition to become a great power. Victoria Cavaliere reports for VOA that a panel of experts is calling for an "affirmative agenda" in Washington's dealings with China.

The U.S.- China report was issued by a task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. At a news conference in New York, the two co-chairs of the panel said building a consensus with China is key to any successful U.S. foreign policy in the whole of Asia.

They also say the Iraq war has deflected needed attention from strengthening relations with China. The panel says Beijing's cooperation with Washington is essential to combating terrorism, ensuring energy security and reigning in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Panel co-chair Carla Hills, a consultant and former U.S. Trade Representative, says new dialogue between both countries is needed. She says this is especially true regarding disputes over the trade imbalance and China's currency.

"No currency fix will work unless the East Asian currencies are re-valued," said Carla Hills. "Japan is out of step, it is undervalued, the Yuan is out step, it's undervalued, but I could conceive of a group of finance ministers sitting down and working out "what are we going to do going forward?" That would be a constructive way to address an issue that is creating enormous hostility and lots of complaints."

Panel co-chair Dennis Blair, the former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, says China's military buildup is not a direct threat to anyone in the region. On the subject of North Korea, Admiral Blair says it appears China is moving closer to the U.S. position about Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"I think China now realizes that North Korea is on the wrong side of this thing and its just posing a danger to the region," said Dennis Blair. "I don't think they feel the danger and much as we do in the United States, but nonetheless, they've come a long way."

Hills says China's integration into the global community should include a dialogue about issues of international concern, such as violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

"On issues like the Sudan, where we diverge, this is an issue where I think we have an opportunity with China,' she said. "China wants to be respected. In fact in recent months it has moderated its behavior. When China understands how keenly we and the international community feel about a particular issue, unless there is a direct collision with something that is their vital interest, they try to accommodate."

China has major oil interests in Sudan, and has been accused of blocking international attempts to end violence in Darfur.

The task force says Beijing will likely treat the 2008 Summer Olympics, which it hosts, as a "coming out" party on the world stage.