The U.S. and China will launch the seventh Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington this Tuesday in order to discuss financial and political strategy. The Dialogue will be held in a joint session with the sixth U.S. and China High Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange for issues such as security and economy.
The United States are planning to put the differences over South China Sea, human rights and cyber security high on their agenda, according to Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. He also stated that the recent massive cyber attacks on the U.S. government computers, which are suspected to be caused by Chinese hackers, will be discussed as part of the cyber security issues. Another point that the United States are putting high on the agenda is the talk about human rights, specially about the democracy in Hong Kong, the problematic law on NGOs and the restriction on media and civil society.
The Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang has stated that China is willing to put differences aside with constructively controlling and handling them, especially on topics such as human rights, cyber security and maritime dispute.
According to Reuters, he said that “On these issues our attitude is not to evade and to resolutely defend China’s interests.” This comes as a setting for the September’s visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Washington.
However, China has announced that they will be going forward in the construction of military facilities and island building for land reclamation in the South China Sea, and according to Reuters, Daniel Russel has stated that “Neither that statement, nor that behavior, contributes to reducing tensions. We consistently urge China to cease reclamation to not construct further facilities and certainly not to further militarize outposts in the South China Sea.” He also stated that maritime disputes with China are not fundamental to the United States; however the U.S. wishes to avoid military confrontation and wants to preserve the principles of freedom of navigation and over flight according to international law.
Other topics to be discussed are climate change and clean energy, Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, cyber security and the Chinese currency, as well as the economic influence China has across the Pacific Rim, more importantly after President Barack Obama’s Asia-Pacific trade pact, and topics like cooperation in education, culture, sports, health, science and technology and women and youth.
The annual dialogue has been established in 2009 to strengthen bilateral relations with China, and to surpass tensions on a myriad of topics. The three day session will be chaired by the Secretary of State John Kerry and the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, while Chinese delegation will be consisted of State Councilor Yang Jiechi and the Vice Premier Wang Yang. The meeting between the two largest economies in the world will give a framework to focus on challenges and opportunities from both sides.