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China-U.S. Strategic & Economic Dialogue
Special> China-U.S. Strategic & Economic Dialogue
UPDATED: July 31, 2009 NO. 31 AUGUST 6, 2009
Adjusting to a New Team

Sino-U.S. relations have long echoed the words of Confucius. But this time around, it is Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming's philosophy that holds court.

At his opening speech during the first session of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) on July 27, U.S. President Barack Obama quoted the Houston Rockets center to underline the importance of a strong China-U.S. partnership.

"No matter whether you are new or an old team member," Obama said, "you need time to adjust to one another."

China and the United States have been adjusting to each other, too, under ongoing and—at times—challenging circumstances.

Even the name of the S&ED, a reincarnation of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) and the Strategic Dialogue—known in the United States as the Senior Dialogue—has reflected significant resolve.

Led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, the Chinese delegation is comprised of 28 ministerial officials. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, meanwhile, are leading a delegation of high-level American counterparts.

Concerns on climate change, energy security, the safety of dollar assets and global financial management are being pragmatically paired with regional and international security initiatives—including targeting terrorism and working toward fostering sustainable development where needed.

On these and other matters, Beijing and Washington have been exercising a profoundly candid—and, in ways, historic—form of diplomacy as of late. In particular, this has yielded a powerfully worded bilateral memorandum of understanding on specific cooperation measures regarding environmental issues including energy and climate change. In this arena, the S&ED has helped representatives from both sides better understand their mutual interests, while helping other nations appreciate their own goals as well.

Of course it is a given that direct collaborations between the world's most rapidly developing economy and the most developed nation on Earth on topics from the global financial crisis to climate change contribute directly to mutual interests. And the world beyond clearly does stand to benefit, too.

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