Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (6th L, Front), State Councilor Dai Bingguo (5th L, Front), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (5th R, Front), U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (4th R, Front) and other officials pose for a group photograph before the opening ceremony of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington, the United States, July 27, 2009. The China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), the first of its kind between the world’s biggest developing country and biggest developed country, opened here on Monday. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
Dharamsala, July 28 – Apparently referring to Tibet and Xinjiang though he did not mention the two restive regions by name, the United States president Barrack Obama said Monday the religion and culture of all peoples must be respected and protected, and that all people should be free to speak their minds. “And that includes ethnic and religious minorities in China, as surely as it includes minorities within the United States,” the president said at the opening of the two day U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington.
“The relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world,” Obama said. “That really must underpin our partnership. That is the responsibility that together we bear.”
Obama, who will also travel to China later this year, acknowledged China’s role in helping contain the effects of the US economic crisis.
“The current crisis has made it clear that the choices made within our borders reverberate across the global economy,” the president said. “As Americans save more and Chinese are able to spend more, we can put growth on a more sustainable foundation. Because just as China has benefited from substantial investment and profitable exports, China can also be an enormous market for American goods.”
“I have no illusion that the United States and China will agree on every issue, nor choose to see the world in the same way,” Obama said, urging dialogue and openness.
The two-day talks in Washington are part of a series of rotating meetings between top economic and foreign policy officials from both governments.
China is poised to overtake Japan as the world’s second-largest economy behind the U.S.
As trade with the U.S. grew, China’s foreign earnings were reinvested in what are considered among the safest investments, U.S. Treasuries. China held just $66.4 billion in U.S. Treasury bills, bonds and notes in July 2000. However, the latest figures put it at whopping $801.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Chinese scholars have expressed reservations over the outcome of the first round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue noting that the US is requesting China to change its mode of development without realizing that the US is the epicenter of the global financial crisis.
Mei Xinyu, of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said it is more important for the United States to undergo reform. “Prescriptions for China do not cure the illness of the US,” Global Times, a newly launched state run news portal, quoted Mei as saying.
“America has set greater obstacles to China,” Tian Yun, vice president of the China Macro Economics Institute, said. “Chinese enterprises are willing to develop to the outside world, but the US has been wary of that. Its attempt to ally with India shows its aim to deter China.”
Niu Xinchun, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations was quoted by Global Times, “The US is conspiring to try to acquire actual interests by showing China courtesy.”