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1st S&ED Round Wins Applause from Leading US Scholars

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More talks on difficlut strategic issues expected

The S&ED mechanism was jointly launched by Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London in April. It underscored the increasing importance of US-Chinese cooperation under new historical circumstances.

Under the S&ED framework, Chinese officials and their US counterparts meet once rather than twice a year as had been the case in previous strategic economic dialogues.

Paal, who had worked at U.S. embassies in Singapore and Beijing, called for more cabinet-state council-level meetings between the two countries to narrow differences because the SED is held once a year and "the higher level meetings will be too few."

Paal suggested each secretary should arrange an additional semiannual meeting with his or her counterpart. Thus, both sides could put concrete requests on the table and initiate decisions.

If the two sides do not make specific requests and yield obvious results, "the bureaucracies will delay and defer," he warned.

In reference to future S&EDs, Glaser said the United States and China should continue to focus on broad strategic issues that the two countries can cooperate on. The issues should also have strategic significance and the potential to further strengthen mutual trust and overall US-Chinese relations.

When asked about her expectations for the next S&ED, Glaser said she would like to see the two sides discuss "the changing structure of power in the world, the respective roles that the US and China play and aspire to play in the future, and how the US and China assess each other and the US-China relationship."

Taiya Smith, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believed the two sides would soon have to focus on more difficult issues.

"After a very short rest, both sides will need to engage actively and begin to work (on) these difficult issues to ensure that the bilateral relationship does not veer from the positive track that it is on over the next 12 months," said Smith, who had been deputy chief of staff to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

She told Xinhua that the S&ED will be tested in the very near future by the "continued challenges in the global economy and domestic pressure for protectionist actions in both countries."

"The most important next step is to begin addressing the more challenging aspects of our relationship," said Smith.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2009)

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