US and China must maintain dialogue over key issues

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 4:27pm

As a former legislative councillor, I am a staunch supporter of enhancing Sino-US ties on a comprehensive front. I am pleased this year's two-day Sino-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, in Washington, concluded on a positive tone with both sides pledging to keep tensions under control and work towards overcoming differences.

Much credit should go to the members of both delegations, with Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew for the US, and vice-premiers Liu Yandong and Wang Yang , and State Councillor Yang Jiechi for China.

There were frank and often heated exchanges on issues such as the South China Sea and cyber-hacking, yet both sides avoided being confrontational.

Reliable media reports on the meeting showed that, firstly, on strategic results there were 127 "outcomes" in nine areas, such as enhancing bilateral cooperation, addressing regional and global challenges, and cooperation on climate change, maritime affairs and health.

Secondly, on economic affairs, there were more than 70 important outcomes. Jacob Lew was reported to have said progress was made in three "most significant" areas - the exchange rate, market access and the bilateral investment treaty, and on information communication technology.

Thirdly, on people-to-people exchanges, the areas covered were education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, women and youth affairs.

Wang Yang was reported to have said that the talks laid the foundation for a successful state visit to the US by President Xi Jinping in September.

Hong Kong, under the "one country, two systems" principle and the rule of law, is a major international port and financial hub, and a worldwide trading and logistics centre. It is vital for China's and Hong Kong's economy that sea lanes in the Pacific remain open at all times for trade and travel. Presidents Xi and Barack Obama should address this issue when they meet in September.

Mr Obama could clarify the US role regarding China's initiatives, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that could further cooperation between the world's two largest economies.

In the "one belt, one road" and the AIIB initiatives, Hong Kong is expected to play a supporting role. They are long-term national economic goals.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah recently blogged that the AIIB hoped to set up an office here next year. This would be good news for Hong Kong.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan