Commentary: China, U.S. sail in one boat amid global tides

08:07, November 16, 2009      

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U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in China on Sunday night for a four-day visit to the world's most populous country.

The visit by the leader of the largest developed country to the biggest developing one has roused great interest among observers as China-U.S. relationship has always been one of the most important and complicated bilateral ties in the world.

During the first leg of his Asian tour in Japan, Obama said the United States welcomes China's appearance on the world stage, and does not seek to contain China. He said that "the rise of a strong and prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations," striking a positive keynote for his forthcoming China visit.

His Chinese counterpart President Hu Jintao has also said that China-U.S. relations have significance and influence far beyond their bilateral ties, and a sound Sino-U.S. relationship is not only in the fundamental interests of the two nations and peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

China has always maintained that, as the biggest developing and the developed countries, China and the United States share broad common interests on the vital issues of peace and development, and shoulder great responsibilities.

During a media interview before his Asia tour, Obama said "on critical issues, whether climate change, economic recovery, nuclear non-proliferation, it's very hard to see how we succeed or China succeeds in our respective goals without working together."

The remarks, however, also hinted at the difficulty of bilateral cooperation on thorny issues.

For instance, the trade spats between the two countries have recently flared up, with the U.S. government imposing anti-dumping duties on imports of poultry, tires and steel pipes from China. China criticized the measures as protectionist.

The two countries are also at odds on the issue of climate change. As the world's two largest green-house gas emitters, China and the U.S. have both pledged commitments, but their different status in economic development and interpretation of the principle of "differentiated responsibilities" have made substantial consensus difficult.

However, the Obama administration has repeatedly indicated that the two sides would not "allow any single issue to detract from our broader overall relationship," which is too important to go astray.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a major U.S. think tank, said in a report, "U.S.-China partnership is indispensable for addressing many of the main challenges of the 21st century ... The premise for U.S.-China relations going forward must be a shared commitment to working together to promote the global good."

To share significant global responsibilities, China and the United States should view and handle their bilateral ties from a strategic and overall perspective. Both sides should promote dialogue, expand cooperation, respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and take care of each other's core interests.

Obama once quoted a famous ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius to underscore the importance of resolving disagreements between the two nations through talks.

"A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time," he said.

It is the shared hope that both sides could blaze a path towards the future, so as not to let the "grass" of suspicion and difference block the way. China also hopes Obama's visit will leave fresh and impressive footprints on this path.

The United States has changed its China policy from isolation, containment, to engagement and today's relationship of positive and comprehensive cooperation. This represents a profound change in the world arena.

As far as both countries keep to the right orientation of the development of bilateral ties, enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and take care of each other's key interests, they will ensure the steady development of bilateral ties and contribute further to world peace, stability and prosperity.

Source:Xinhua
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