President Hu's visit to U.S. aids bilateral relations
2006/04/25
 By Xinhua writers Rong Yan, Lin Liping

    The Chinese and U.S. presidents are currently holding their fifth meeting in less than a year, which is believed to augur well for promoting the constructive and cooperative relations between the two countries.

    Hu Jintao and George W. Bush met at the White House on April 20 during Hu's four-day state visit.

    The two heads of state agreed to take bilateral relationship from a strategic height and long-term perspective and comprehensively advance bilateral constructive and cooperative relations in the 21st century so as to benefit the two peoples and other peoples around the world.

    The meeting between China and the United States, the largest developing country and the largest developed country, attracted world attention, and experts paid particular attention to Hu's remarks that China and the United States are not only mutual stakeholders, but also should be constructive cooperators.

    The word "stakeholder" was first used for China-U.S. relations by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick last year. According to experts, it strongly implies that the United States thinks of China as an equal and important member in the current international system.

    Li Xiaogang, an expert in American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said President Hu's remarks of "mutual stakeholders" during the meeting with Bush indicated that both sides had acknowledged the existence of common interests between the two nations.

    China holds that the two nations should further increase cooperation to safeguard the common interests of both sides. That is why president Hu said the two countries should be constructive cooperators, Li said.

    During the meeting which was described as fruitful by the Chinese President, Hu also spoke highly of the development of bilateral relations, saying that the agreements reached between the two heads of state during their meetings last year in New York and Beijing are being implemented.

    Hu said China-U.S. relations have progressed beyond bilateral relationship and have had more and more global influence and strategic significance.

    China and the United States should make joint efforts to advance bilateral constructive and cooperative relations, he noted.

    Bush shares Hu's view on bilateral relations. "We have made progress in building a relationship that is candid and cooperative," Bush was quoted as saying.

    Yuan Peng, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said instead of trying to achieve breakthroughs in some specific problems, the more important aim of the summit is to create a healthier political atmosphere and more stable framework for the future development of China-U.S. relations.

    Yuan said the two nations had found the rules for conducting cooperation with competition and for achieving coexistence with frictions, and had exchange ideas in fields such as economy, trade, military and culture.

    With the increasingly active economic and trade exchanges between China and the United States in recent years, economic issues have become very important.

    The two heads of state agreed at the summit to enhance bilateral economic and trade relations based on the principle of mutual benefit.

    With regard to existing differences, both sides agreed to find solutions through negotiations for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.

    The summit attended by the two heads of state has created a good atmosphere for the elimination of frictions, said Li Xiaogang.

    He believed that trade frictions are "normal" in economic exchanges between two countries.

    "Although China has taken concrete measures to show its determination to eliminate the trade imbalance, it requires efforts of both sides to resolve the economic and trade problems," said Li.

    The state heads of China and the United States have met many times since Bush was elected president in 2001 and China-U.S. relations have been improving with numerous contacts between leaders of the two countries.

    China and the United States have so far established more than 20 strategic and functional dialogue mechanisms, covering fields of trade, military affairs and non-traditional fields, such as health and culture.

    Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow in American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the leaders of China and the United States are now able to discuss all issues openly. Although the two sides still have differences on some issues, they know each other's stances and allow the differences to exist.

    This openness shows that relations between China and the United States are entering a relatively mature phase, said Tao.

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