BEIJING – China and the United States on Wednesday launched high-level talks, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging the world's two biggest economies to break old patterns of confrontation.
Given their different histories and cultures "it is natural that China and the US may have different views and even frictions on certain issues", Xi told the opening of the two-day annual talks in Beijing. "This is what makes communication and cooperation even more necessary," he urged, speaking in the same imposing compound where then US president Richard Nixon met Mao Zedong on his groundbreaking visit to China in 1972.
The sixth annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue comes as tensions between the two nations have risen in recent months wracked by maritime disputes, as well as US fears over cyber security and Chinese hacking. "Our interests are more than ever interconnected," Xi insisted, saying 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, adding the Pacific powers needed 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.
"In a statement sent to the opening of the meetings, US President Barack Obama agreed saying: "The United States and China will not always see eye-to-eye on every issue."That was "why we need to build our relationship around common challenges, mutual responsibilities, and shared interests, even while we candidly address our differences," Obama said.
The American president, who has made the so-called pivot to Asia a focus of his administration, will return to the Chinese capital in November when it hosts a key summit of Asia-Pacific leaders. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is leading Washington's team with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, told the delegations the US was committed to a new model of great country ties with China.
"We have a profound stake in each other's success", he insisted. "It is not lost on any of us that throughout history there have been a pattern of strategic rivalry between rising and established powers," he said.