Clinton lays out U.S. strategy on ties with China, welcomes China's rise

10:30, January 15, 2011      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday laid out U.S. strategy on relations with China, reaffirming that the United States welcomes China as a rising power.

"As we build on our record of the past two years and shape the future of our relationship, the Obama administration is pursuing a strategy with three elements that all reinforce one another," Clinton said in a speech delivered at the State Department ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States next week.

The secretary said the U.S. is practicing robust regional engagement in the Asia-Pacific, working to build trust between China and the United States, and committed to expanding economic, political and security cooperation with China wherever possible.

Talking about the first element, U.S. engagement in the Asia- Pacific, Clinton said the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power and is committed to relationships through both of these two great oceans.

"We are firmly embedding our relationship with China within a broader regional framework because it is inseparable from the Asia- Pacific's web of security alliances, economic networks, and social connections," she said.

The second element of U.S. strategy is to focus on building bilateral trust with China, she said. "We need to form habits of cooperation and respect that help us work together more effectively, and weather disagreements when they do arise."

The secretary said that the most notable example of such efforts is the Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the United States and China, which brings together hundreds of experts from dozens of agencies across both governments, not only to discuss an unprecedented range of subjects, but to inculcate that ethic or habit of cooperation across the two governments.

She said that both countries would also benefit from sustained and substantive military-to-military engagement and new and deeper bonds forged between two peoples.

"The third element of our strategy is expanding our work together, along with the rest of the international community, to address these shared challenges: global recession, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, piracy on the high seas. These are threats that affect all of us, including China, and China is joining us in confronting them," Clinton said.

"In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the United States and China worked effectively through the G-20 to help spur recovery. Can you imagine where we would be economically if either China or the United States had failed to work together so constructively? " she said when talking about bilateral cooperation on the economic front.

She said the two countries also need to work on some of the global strategic issues that confront them, noting that U.S.-China cooperation at the UN Climate Conference held in Mexico in November last year was critical to the conclusion of the Cancun Agreement.

Clinton said that cooperation between the U.S. and China could also make a significant impact on international development and security issues.

Talking about the future of U.S.-China relationship, the secretary suggested that the two countries should work together for a better future.

"Today we have a positive relationship with China and the chance for a very positive future," she said. "The United States welcomes China as a rising power. We welcome China's efforts not only to lift their own people out of poverty, but to export prosperity and opportunity."

"We look forward to a time when our future generations can look back and say of us, 'They didn't just talk about a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship. They made the right choices, they worked together, they delivered results and they did leave us a better world,'" she said.

"That is our vision, and that is our commitment for this most important relationship," the secretary said.

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