By Li Hongmei, Specially for Sina English
The fourth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) began on Thursday in Beijing with the Chinese president, Hu Jintao stressing that China and the United States should build new ties and warning that a downturn in relations would constitute a serious threat to the world.
The dialogue was created in 2009 to help China and the US manage bilateral ties and promote communication.
President Hu addressed the opening session of the two-day annual talks, repeatedly calling for the establishment of a new type of relationship between China and the US and saying that "Earth is big enough for both to develop."
Hu said it is not possible for China and the US to agree on every issue due to the differences of their respective national situations, but said both should respect and support each others' interests and concerns.
"We believe that cooperation between China and the United States [is] a great opportunity for both countries and the world, while confrontation between the two will bring serious harm to all," Hu was quoted as saying.
Anyone who thinks Beijing and Washington will see eye to eye on the flashpoints is technically wrong. China knows as much of the fact that it is destined to surpass the U.S. economy the way it overtook Japan and Europe as the knowledge that American soft power is inescapably waning.
Few countries aspire to the U.S. model of capitalism after the demise of Lehman Brothers, and the shame of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, undermine its claim to moral high ground. Chinese tolerance for lectures from America on free markets and so-called human rights is hitting the bottom line.
As it is, the importance of maintaining constructive U.S.-China relations is lost on no one. To achieve this, the U.S. might as well recalibrate its focus on its China policy. The establishment of a mechanism to beef up mutual trust proves a basis to finesse the volatile bilateral ties and cushion the impact once incidents occur.
The G-2 is, perhaps, the linchpin of an unsteady world economy, albeit that China seems reluctant to embrace the term. To say the least, keeping peaceful coexistence is vital to averting financial upheaval and restoring growth for not only the two major players, but for the entire world.
Breakdown in China-US ties would threaten the world, as stressed by President Hu.