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China, US Sign 10-year Energy, Environment Framework

China and the United States signed a 10-year energy and environment cooperation framework in Washington on Wednesday after the two nations concluded their fourth round of Strategic Economic Dialogue, or SED.

Speaking to reporters before the signing ceremony at the US Treasury Department, visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said the deal was "a major achievement of the meeting," which will influence future bilateral economic cooperation and contribute to the sustainable development of the world.

The framework also highlights the great importance and strategic influence of the SED mechanism, he added.

US Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson said through the framework, "we will address some of the most important and difficult challenges facing our nations and the world today -- energy security, environmental sustainability and climate change."

He said interests of China and the United States in this area are "very aligned."

"We seek energy security -- which is so vital to our economic security -- while taking the necessary steps and making the necessary technological advances to preserve the health of our planet," said Paulson.

"Success in this area will require a sustained long-term effort by our two countries," he said.

The 10-year energy and environment framework sets goals and lays out steps to expand Sino-US cooperation in this area over a period of 10 years.

There are five initial goals be addressed under the framework, including clean, efficient and secure electricity production and transmission; clean water; clean air; clean and efficient transportation; conservation of forest and wetland ecosystems.

Five joint Sino-US taskforces will be established to develop action plans focused on concrete cooperation for each goal with the aim of completing all of these action plans by the next SED.

China and the United States also agreed to explore the concept of Ecopartnerships as a potential vehicle for implementing goals of the framework at next round of SED talks.

Wang and Paulson co-chaired the June 17-18 SED meeting as special representatives of the state leaders of the two countries in Annapolis, Md.

Participants of the talks include minister-level officials and other senior officials from the two governments.

Aside form cooperation in energy and environment, the meeting also focused financial and macro economic management, developing and protecting human capital, the benefits of trade and open markets and enhancing investment.

(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2008)

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