China-U.S. S&ED talks: a chance to deepen trust, cooperation (2)

13:02, May 09, 2011      

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In the lead up to next week's dialogues, ties between the two countries remain solid, former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen told Xinhua.

"It's still on a very positive track at the executive level," the former Clinton administration official said. "President Obama and his entire economic and security team are focused on building a better economic and security relationship with China."

Now issues between the two countries that need to be addressed are becoming part of the dialogue, Cohen said.

Ambassador Roy, and Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, both echoed similar views when asked about the state of China-U.S. relationship ahead of the S&ED.

"I think there are a tremendous number of challenges going forward, but I think that last year we saw a negative dynamic emerge in the bilateral relationship that was exacerbating problems and interfering with our ability to work productively," Roy said.

"President Hu's visit (in January) had a very positive impact on that situation. By getting both governments focused on how to make Hu's visit a positive one, it altered the psychology of our bilateral dealings, and I think that positive momentum has continued after Hu's visit," he said.

"So my sense is that the bilateral relationship is working better now than it was at this time a year ago. And I would hope that can continue," the former ambassador added.

Lieberthal also said President Hu's visit was significant.

"Both presidents took the occasion of the visit to make very clear in public that although we have and will continue to have disagreements based in interests, culture, values and history, that the value of the relationship overall is so great overall to each country, that we can't let our disagreements overwhelm our capacity to realize the upside benefits of basically cooperative relations," he said.

"Both (presidents) said the same thing about that. I think those were important messages," he said.
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