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Slow dance of Sino-US ties driven by mutual need

05-24-2010 11:35 BJT

The second China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) begins in Beijing today.

During the two-day session, hundreds of officials of both countries will attend the talk. The US delegation is composed of nearly 200 officials from al-most every element of the US government. It's the largest cabinet level delegation the US has ever sent to China.

However, huge delegations will not necessarily bring great achievements.

Both the Chinese and US media have paid a great deal of attention to the dialogue, but the topics that concern them are different.

Both are interested in economic issues, such as deeper cooperation on green energy and economic recovery.

But the US media has also emphasized some strategic issues that the Chinese media largely brush over, such as the security dilemmas in the Korean Peninsula.

This shows that any consensus between the two nations is only economic, and that no easy solutions to political problems exist.

For example, clean energy cooperation was the highlight of the first S&ED last year.

Consequently, both sides decided to invest $150 million in a shared initiative, the Clean Energy Research Center, founded in July 2009. This serves as a positive basis for further clean energy cooperation.

The US hopes to play a leading role in the clean energy market in the future. As China invested nearly $35 billion in clean energy last year, surpassing the US' $19 billion, there have been increasing calls for the Obama administration to take more actions to expand the clean energy industry.

Meanwhile, in order to create more job opportunities and change China's economic growth pattern, China also wants to explore the market.

Therefore, common interests will make clean energy cooperation the new driving force for bilateral ties, which were recently harmed by some unpleasant incidents, including Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama and the US selling weapons to Taiwan.

The EU debt crisis has also brought new urgency to further cooperation. The world thought the green shoots of global economic recovery had come, but the rapid spread of the crisis reminded us otherwise.

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