The U.S. and China vowed to improve cooperation after Chinese President Xi Jinping said, during the opening ceremony of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue on Wednesday, that confrontation between the two nations would be a disaster.
The main concerns at the two-day talks will reportedly include China’s currency, North Korea’s nuclear program, the increasing tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea. American delegates, led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, will reportedly discuss 60 topics with Chinese officials at the Beijing meeting.
"China-U.S. confrontation, to the two countries and the world, would definitely be a disaster," Xi said, according to Reuters, as he opened the annual talks between the two biggest economies in the world. "We should mutually respect and treat each other equally, and respect the others sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect each other's choice on the path of development."
The U.S. and China reportedly said that they would not let their differences hamper a relationship critical to global peace and prosperity. Tensions between Beijing and Washington have escalated in recent months over charges of hacking and Internet spying, as well as China's maritime claims in Asia. In May, five Chinese military officers were charged with hacking U.S. companies. The incident led to the suspension of a Sino-U.S. working group on cyber issues.
In reference to China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors, Xi said that the U.S. should respect Chinese “territorial integrity.” The U.S. said that it has not taken sides in the disputes but is critical of China’s behavior.
"We welcome the emergence of a peaceful, stable, prosperous China that contributes to the stability and development of the region, and chooses to play a responsible role in world affairs," Kerry said, according to Reuters. "We have a profound stake in each other's success."
Kerry reportedly added: "I can tell you that we are determined to choose the path of peace and prosperity and cooperation, and yes, even competition, but not conflict."
On economic issues, Lew reportedly said that he will push China to speed up reforms and do more to let the yuan rise against the dollar.
"We support China's efforts to allow the market to play a more decisive role in the economy and rely more on household consumption to drive China's economic growth. Moving to a market-determined exchange rate will be a crucial step," Lew said at the opening ceremony.