Chinese President Hu Jintao is to pay a State visit to the United States next week at the invitation of US President George W. Bush. The US president is scheduled to visit China in November. The exchange of visits will surely push bilateral ties to a new level.
How Sino-US relations will play out in the future and in what direction the relationship will head have drawn widespread concern in the international community.
China and the United States have achieved all-dimensional development in bilateral ties, from being pushed by external forces to being driven by internal demands.
The former Soviet Union factor during the Cold War prompted China and the United States to club together. Since September 11, 2001, Sino-US ties have once again improved due to a common demand to counter terrorism.
The upcoming exchange of mutual visits by heads of the two countries and the launching of a high-level strategic dialogue symbolize a turning point in bilateral ties. The significant events signify that Sino-US ties will no longer simply depend on external forces in a passive way, but will be mainly determined by internal factors and the drive for self-development. Both countries are expected to strengthen bilateral ties in a more active manner.
Both China and the United States hold an important position on the other's diplomatic chessboard.
Against the backdrop of globalization, the two countries have begun to share more and more common interests. This makes it increasingly necessary for the nations to strengthen mutual exchanges, communication and co-ordination to eliminate misgivings existing in bilateral ties and so to enhance trust.
The two visits to China by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not long ago, frequent trips to Beijing by other senior American officials, and the establishment of the Sino-US strategic dialogue mechanism herald a more active, regular exchange of visits by both countries' officials.
President Hu's upcoming visit will greatly benefit the mobilization and expansion of forces in both countries in favour of advancing Sino-US relations.
China is a large developing country witnessing a rapid increase in international clout. That has caused some concern in the United States.
Some fear China's development will pose a big challenge to the sole superpower status of the United States. They are therefore unsure of Beijing's future strategic intentions. A fresh round of "China threat" coverage has emerged, with views of the nation as a so-called "military threat" being thrown around.
The so-called threat posed by China's development model, soft national strength build-up and growing energy demand have been needlessly exaggerated.
All of these distortions are a direct reflection of deep suspicions about China.
Some disagreements in Sino-US relations have occurred. On July 19, the Pentagon submitted to the US Congress an annual report on China's military power, purposefully exaggerating the country's military muscle.
The recent efforts made by China's CNOOC or China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's biggest offshore oil and gas producer, to bid for American firm Unocal sent a shockwave across the United States.
The long-standing dispute between Beijing and Washington over textile exports, and the huge pressure on China to revalue its RMB currency have both cast shadows over the largely harmonious Sino-US relationship.
Some American scholars and strategists have been talking about an "integration" or "hedging" strategy towards China.
There also exist some misgivings in China about US strategy and foreign policy that affect the nation.
China is concerned about American strategic intentions on the Taiwan question, its upgraded alliance with Japan and military deployments in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Certainly, China above all worries about whether the world's only superpower will adopt a blockade or containment policy to hamper its development.
High-level exchanges between the two countries will help provide a forum for clarifying strategic intentions and reducing strategic misperceptions.
China's development over the past two decades since its adoption of the reform and opening-up policy testifies that the country's development is mainly driven by internal demand, and is not at the mercy of other economies. The two countries can realize a win-win result.
The more progress China achieves in its development, the better Sino-US relations will be.
The fundamental purpose of China's drive to build a well-off society is to improve living conditions for its people, not to challenge the United States or damage its national interests.
However, under the cloud of the "China threat," it remains a top priority for the two countries to strengthen high-level communications to enhance mutual trust and dispel misgivings.
The high-level strategic dialogue held in Beijing on August 1 and 2 served this purpose. Both sides considered the dialogue beneficial to bilateral ties and agreed the next round of talks will be held in Washington later this year.
To enhance mutual trust, China and the United States should pay attention to each other's concerns.
It is in the common interests of both countries to oppose and contain the "Taiwan independence" forces and keep a stable and peaceful situation across the Straits. This is also one of the largest fields in which both countries can co-operate.
The Anti-Secession Law, passed by China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, in March, aims to maintain peace and stability across the Straits, but not to go to war with the island.
The Taiwan question is related to China's core interests. To appropriately handle the matter is key to the stability of the Sino-US relationship.
The Chinese mainland is willing to show the largest sincerity and make the biggest efforts to realize a peaceful reunification between the mainland and Taiwan Island. However, it will by no means tolerate any kind of "Taiwan independence" or any attempt to split the island from China, just as President Hu said in March.
As two influential players in the Asia-Pacific region, China and the United States share a common interest in safeguarding regional peace and promoting common prosperity.
The two have carried out positive co-operation on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and under the frameworks of APEC and the regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
It is the Chinese Government's persistent stance that the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons, and the matter be resolved through negotiations.
China will continue to co-operate with the United States and other relevant parties in pushing for settlement of the thorny issue.
The two countries also enjoy bright prospects for co-operation in fighting against non-traditional security threats.
Hu's visit to the United States will inevitably help expand strategic partnerships between the two countries, reduce tensions and consolidate strategic stability in bilateral ties.
Source: China Daily