China, US hold high-level talks; vow to improve ties

China and the US today launched high-level talks to discuss critical issues in bilateral ties amid escalating regional tensions, as Chinese President Xi Jinping said the two countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Xi, opening the two-day annual talks in Beijing, said problems in bilateral ties are not to be afraid of as long as both sides work to solve them.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 09, 2014, 13:17 PM IST

Beijing: China and the US today launched high-level talks to discuss critical issues in bilateral ties amid escalating regional tensions, as Chinese President Xi Jinping said the two countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.

Xi, opening the two-day annual talks in Beijing, said problems in bilateral ties are not to be afraid of as long as both sides work to solve them.

Considering their different histories and cultures "it is natural that China and the US may have different views and even frictions on certain issues", Xi said.

"This is what makes communication and cooperation even more necessary," he said at the joint opening ceremony of the sixth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the fifth China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

"Our interests are more than ever interconnected," Xi said, adding that the two nations "stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation".

"If we are in confrontation it will surely spell disaster for both countries and for the world," he said.

Xi called on the need for Pacific powers to "break the old pattern of inevitable confrontation".

"One can ill afford a mistake on fundamental issues, a mistake that may possibly ruin the whole undertaking," he said.

In Washington, US President Barack Obama also issued a statement coinciding with the beginning of the talks here, saying the US is committed to the goal of developing a "new model" of relations with China defined by increased practical cooperation and "constructive management" of differences.

Speaking on the "new model", Xi said, "Building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States is unprecedented in history. There is no ready-made experience from which to learn."

Xi said China and the US have overcome difficulties and continued to progress in the past 35 years, thanks to the leaderships understanding of contemporary conditions.

"Today, our two countries should better observe the times and think creatively to open new prospects in bilateral cooperation," Xi said.

The US delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will hold two-day talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi to strike what Chinese officials describe a "new type" of relationship to further bilateral ties.

This year`s strategic dialogue covers a wide range of topics of domestic and foreign policy, including climate change, science and innovation, Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping and the illegal trade in animals and plants, as well as interactions in the Asia-Pacific region, officials said.