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UPDATED: July 7, 2015 NO. 23 JUNE 4, 2015
Dialogue Between Two Giants
By Lan Xinzhen

The seventh round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. in late June. The United States' preferred topics of discussion were proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to China in May.

According to a statement by the U.S. Department of State, this round of dialogue will focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by the two countries as well as their economic and strategic interests in the short and long run. China and the United States are expected to seek common ground, resolve differences and promote common development through the upcoming dialogue.

However, the deepening of Sino-U.S. strategic relations is impeded by a Cold War mentality harbored by some on the U.S. side. On May 20, a U.S. anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft flew over waters off China's Nansha Islands and was asked to leave by Chinese armed forces. The Chinese Foreign Ministry voiced strong dissatisfaction over the encounter, saying that reconnaissance conducted by U.S. military aircraft poses a potential threat to the security of China's maritime features and is highly likely to cause a misunderstanding.

Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1979, bilateral relations have generally stayed on the right track in spite of stumbling blocks along the way. Currently, China and the United States are the second largest trading partner of each other. The United States is China's largest export market and fifth largest source of imports. China is the United States' third largest export market and largest source of imports.

By the end of November 2014, accumulated investment of the United States in China had reached $75.22 billion, making the United States China's fourth largest source of foreign investment. The United States is the third largest destination of China's overseas investment, with accumulated investment by Chinese companies in the United States exceeding $38.5 billion by the end of last November.

China and the United States are therefore deeply intertwined with each other economically. Their leaders must have a clear understanding of such a scenario.

The South China Sea is but one of the multiple factors affecting Sino-U.S. relations. With the rise of the Chinese economy, some in the United States are increasingly worried that China's rise would challenge the United States' hegemony. At present China is rolling out the Belt and Road Initiative and working toward the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide funding for infrastructure construction in Asia. Those holding a Cold War mentality in the United States believe that China is abandoning internationally recognized rules in establishing the bank. Against this backdrop, dialogue between the two countries becomes especially important.

It's normal for China and the United States to have disagreements. The S&ED serves to settle these disagreements. When it comes to dealing with disputes, the wisdom and insight of both countries' leaders are essential. The two sides should develop bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic angle. They should solve disputes based on the principle of seeking common ground while shelving differences and continue to enrich their relationship.

At present, the aspiration for safeguarding and expanding common interests outweighs division in bilateral relations. As for issues on which the two are divided, Beijing and Washington should communicate with each other, develop mutual trust and promote cooperation.

It is hoped that the upcoming S&ED will help foster political trust and strengthen strategic cooperation between the two sides.

Copyedited by Eric Daly

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