Hu Jintao

Beijing talks set to grow Sino-US relations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2005, 12:00am

Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will inaugurate a 'strategic dialogue' with his US counterpart Robert Zoellick in Beijing next week.

The so-called strategic dialogue was launched by presidents Hu Jintao and George W. Bush at last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in Chile, with the aim of institutionalising top-level communication between the two countries.

The inaugural session, on Monday and Tuesday, is expected to cover a broad array of topics including North Korea, bilateral trade, Taiwan, energy and the fight against terrorism, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Analysts say the recent frequent interaction between China and the US underscores a willingness by both sides to explore mutual interests and discuss how best to manage differences.

'Although bilateral ties have been strengthened in terms of more high-level exchange platforms and more commitment to solve problems, the distrust between two countries is still deeply seated ... strategically, they feel uncertain, even paranoid about each other,' said Ni Feng , director of American Studies Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

An increase in high-level dialogue was intended to solve the 'trust issue' in what is arguably the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century, analysts said.

'The world would not be able to afford it if something went seriously wrong in Sino-US relations ... maybe they can never become friends but it would be disastrous if they end up being foes,' said Shen Jiru , a senior researcher with the academy's World Economics and Politics Institute.

Next week's talks would build up interactive momentum even if they produced little in the way of concrete initiatives, analysts said.

'They may talk about every issue that bears mutual interest, from the yuan to weaponry, but the main thing should be to install a top-level communication mechanism and to keep the ball rolling,' Mr Ni said.

A positive result from the talks would be Washington and Beijing continuing to tap the potential upside of their relationship.

It is expected Mr Hu will pay an official visit to the US in September.