As the dust settled yesterday following Google's withdrawal from the mainland's search engine market after months of speculation and bickering, analysts said it had only played a marginal role in strained Sino-US ties and that many thornier issues lay ahead. Just hours before the muchexpected announcement by Google that it was relocating its simplified-Chinese search service from the mainland to Hong Kong, Premier Wen Jiabao told foreign business executives on Monday that high-level strategic talks between Beijing and Washington would be held in May to address bilateral problems. At the start of the year, Google's surprise announcement of its exit plan fuelled tensions between the two powers. While the US called on China to allow greater internet freedom, Beijing repeatedly said the issue should not be politicised. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday Sino-US relations would not be undermined by Google's move unless the issue was 'politicised'. 'I don't think this would have an impact on Sino-US relations unless some people want to politicise it,' Qin said. 'If you link this to China-US relations or politicise it, or even link it to China's international image, this is mere overkill.' China has labelled the Google issue an 'individual commercial case' that would not affect the overall environment for foreign investors nor the Sino-US relationship. Qin said Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo would head the Chinese delegation at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue to be held in Beijing in late May. The US side would be led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Wen said the May meeting was an 'important dialogue'. 'This is also an important opportunity for China and the US to resolve our ... problems. We attach a lot of importance to this,' Xinhua quoted Wen as saying. First set up in 2006 under President Hu Jintao and then US president George W. Bush, the twice-yearly dialogue was expanded under Barack Obama from just focusing on economic matters to also address other important issues. While the internet censorship issue is expected to be brought up again at the dialogue, mainland analysts said it would be pushed aside by other more pressing issues including trade frictions and US concerns about the value of the yuan. With the controversy over arms sales to Taiwan and Obama's meeting with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama having subsided, Washington has intensified pressure on Beijing to revalue the yuan. A group of 130 congressmen sent a letter to Geithner and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last week urging the US government to brand China a currency manipulator in a report on foreign currency exchange policies to be released on April 15. But China has stood firm, saying it will not succumb to foreign pressure on the currency issue. Obama's administration has also pushed China to put more pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. Beijing has been reluctant to impose sanctions on Tehran, saying diplomatic talks were the only real answer. A big question mark still hangs over the identity of China's representative at a nuclear security summit in Washington on April 12 and 13. Analysts say the choice - Hu or someone less senior - will signal the direction of the Sino-US relationship in the near future. Yu Wanli, from Peking University's Centre for International and Strategic Studies, said that while the currency and trade issues would take centre stage at the May dialogue, progress would be unlikely. Shi Yinhong, a director of the Centre for American Studies at Renmin University, said the dialogue should be used by both sides to iron out long-running differences. With both sides showing little intention of compromising on the currency and Iran issues, Shi said setting aside such disagreements would be the only way to move the bilateral relationship forward.