Even before arriving in China, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had expressed her desire to talk with China regarding East Asian territorial disputes including the South China Sea issue. But what she would like to specifically talk about remains unknown.
It's very likely that Clinton will reiterate the principle of a peaceful solution, which the Chinese side in no way opposes.
She may also request China enter into negotiations with ASEAN over the South China Sea issue. But this will not be accepted by China, which has long called for bilateral negotiations.
Clinton once publicly warned China against coercing states that it has territorial disputes with.
Nonetheless, if China could really deal with the Philippines and Vietnam through "coercion," these two countries would not have acted as provocatively in recent times, and the South China Sea issue would have been much simpler, because the parties involved would have simply prepared for war.
As for the territorial disputes, there are not many things China has to say to the US either.
The fundamental reason for the sudden prominence of the South China Sea issue and the Diaoyu Islands dispute has been the US.
Seeing the "pivot" to Asia, the US has fomented surrounding countries into confronting China over territorial disputes, so as to disturb and check China's rise.
It's good that the US and China are conducting high-level exchanges. China sincerely hopes the US stays neutral in regard to territorial disputes in East Asia.
However, Clinton might barely listen to any suggestions from China, since what she seeks is unilateral compromise by China.
China needs to firmly clarify its bottom line via Clinton toward the surrounding countries that it has disputes with.
Previously, China just released general statements about sovereignty, but lacked follow-up actions. As a result, some countries are not aware of China's determination.
We should openly and honestly clarify to Clinton our principles and what efforts we would like to make and what cost we are prepared to pay in order to safeguard them.
During previous high-level exchanges, the two countries have repeatedly reassured each other that neither side wants to bring a halt to the bilateral relationship. Both sides do need such caution in dealing with each other.
Clinton is not aiming to assist China's interests. However, she understands what responses best suit the interests of the US when facing China's firm determination to protect its national interests.
This is enough. China should not let the US have any doubt or other misjudgments regarding its determination.