China-US’ high-level security dialogue to ‘clear doubts, enhance strategic trust’ amid trade spats

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/9 21:58:40

Trade, Taiwan, S.China Sea top agenda: observers

China said it expects good results from the second diplomatic and security dialogue on Friday in Washington. Analysts noted the dialogue is a chance for both sides to clear doubts and build trust amid the ongoing trade spat, as well as other disputes that brought bilateral ties to the crossroads of confrontation and cooperation.

China expects good results from the dialogue and hopes the two sides could properly manage disputes in an equal and friendly manner, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing on Friday.

China hopes the two sides could implement the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders, enhance understanding, properly manage disputes and promote cooperation through equal and friendly exchanges, Hua said.

Hua stressed "equal and friendly" communication because China expects the US to respect its legitimate interests and choices, and, more importantly, to drop the arrogance and sense of superiority when negotiating with its partner, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

China-US relations are at a critical turning point, and the dialogue, which could pave the way for a meeting between the two countries' leaders, is an important occasion to clear doubts and build trust, as well as a test to see how and whether the two could overcome difficulties and interact in a positive manner, Li said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to meet at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, which will be held from November 30 to December 1.

The dialogue comes days after Xi and Trump spoke on the phone on November 1, which came half a year after their previous call on May 8.

Clear stance

"Economic and trade issues will be on the table. The two sides will reaffirm the importance of stable and peaceful China-US trade relations to bilateral ties, but detailed solutions to the current frictions are unlikely to be discussed at this occasion," Wu Xinbo, director of Fudan University's Center for American Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

Topics that China considers affecting its core interests but were constantly and severely challenged by the US this year will also be touched, including those relate to the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea, analysts said.

China will clearly state during the dialogue that practical military exchanges between the US and the island of Taiwan should not be proceeded and the US should show restraint in provocative moves in the South China Sea, especially those under the guise of its "Indo-Pacific" strategy, Wu said.

Listing China as a rival in its national security strategy report and remarks from senior US officials have triggered speculations in China as to how much those negative perceptions had affected US' policy toward China, or whether the policy had already shifted to a direction that targets China as a rival, Wu said.

China also wants a clear answer on the kind of strategic dialogue the US wants to have with China and if there will be any changes to US strategy toward China-US relations, Wu noted, adding that the meeting would clear doubts and serve as a chance to build trust.

The dialogue is one of the four high-level dialogue mechanisms initiated by the leaders of the two countries during their Mar-a-Lago meeting in April 2017.

The first round of the diplomatic and security dialogue was held in June last year.

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, will co-chair the dialogue with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will participate in the dialogue, and it will be his third meeting with Mattis in five months.

With the attendance of senior military officials, both sides also need to work out a mechanism for crisis management, so that emergencies like the "dangerous encounters of their warships" will not occur and if they happen, they could be handled timely and properly, Li said.

A formal and flexible mechanism for crisis management is crucial to prevent bilateral ties from being trapped or severely damaged, analysts stressed.

Newspaper headline: China, US to hold high-level security dialogue

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