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China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue 'a Very Special Event'

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China and the United States will kick off their fist round of strategic and economic dialogue (S&ED) on Monday, and workers are making last-minute preparations on Sunday at the Ronald Reagan Building here, the site of the opening ceremony.

"Could you move that a little bit left? It will be better," John Niederhouser, who is charge of venue-preparations for the opening ceremony, consistently gave guidance to workers to put the presidential podium, media riser and other installations in place.

In the building's Atrium Hall where the opening ceremony will be held, Niederhouser and his co-workers couldn't lay rest for a minute.

He watched a monitor screen for one moment and then in another moment, he rushed to the workers to give instructions by hand.

"Although I am not so familiar with current events in this world, but it must be a very special event because it will bring together our president and so many senior officials from China and the United States," Niederhouser told Xinhua.

According to schedule, US President Barack Obama will address the S&ED opening ceremony Monday morning, which will be attended by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Treasure Secretary Timothy Geithner, and dozens of other high-ranking officials from both countries.

After that, all dialogue participants will have a face-to-face plenary session in the Atrium Ballroom opposite to the Atrium Hall.

Following that, the strategic track of the S&ED will be held at the State Department Building while the economic track will first be held in Ronald Reagan Building before moving to the Treasury Department Building.

Niederhouser and his co-workers started their day of work by 6:00 AM and he is confident that everything will be ready by 7:00 PM on Sunday.

Many experts were hired to help preparing the venue of the dialogue, including David Seibert, a lighting specialist.

Unlike Niederhouser, Seibert likes to talk about world events.

"Our country is facing great challenges and we certainly want good relations with China. Dialogue can always bring people together," he told Xinhua.

Seibert said he thought that by picking Atrium Hall, a first-class convention venue with cutting-edge audio, video and communications technology, as the venue to open the dialogue, the US side obviously wants to have a successful meeting with China.

Allen Quartey, a security guard, told Xinhua that security will be very tight in the Ronald Reagan Building during Monday's event.

"China grows so fast, China is so cool. Look at that!" he said, pointing to a Nikon D3 camera carried by a Xinhua photographer.

Located in the heart of Washington and blocks away from the White House, the Ronald Reagan Building is the largest building in the capital city, serving multiple functions including office, conventions, and exhibits and attracting some one millions visitors a year.

Official introductions said the building is dedicated to "international trade and globalization."

In such context, it may not be just a coincidence that the building was chosen as the site to open the first S&ED, which is aimed to consolidating confidence, regaining economic growth and enhancing China-US economic cooperation.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2009)