Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

In DC Starts first security dialogue between U.S. and China, joined by both Armed Forces.

The flags of the United States and China outside of the New York Stock Exchange .

The third round of wide-ranging Sino-American talks will begin next Monday in Washington.  For the first time, they will include a strategic security dialogue that brings together diplomatic and military officials from both countries.
As leading officials from the world’s two largest economies meet next week, “strategic security” might become one of the key phrases dominating the third round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue to be held in Washington.

Analysts say that the security topic (plus others like chinese investments in U.S. companies, the yuan exchange rate, U.S. debt, market access, legal framework, U.S fiscal policies, among other issues)  will move up on the bilateral dialogue agenda.

The two-day meeting will be co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, with some 30 top officials of over 20 government agencies from each side in attendance.

According to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, the two countries will launch their first “strategic security dialogue” under the framework of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue slated for Monday and Tuesday. Military officials, for the first time, will take part in the security talks.

The first security dialogue will be led by Zhang Zhijun, Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, and James Steinberg, deputy U.S. State.

The launch of the “strategic security dialogue” and inclusion of military officials into the talks is an innovation for the dialogue mechanism, observers say, indicating that China and the United States acknowledge they share some common ground and are ready to work together to address problems in terms of strategic security.

Military representatives will be welcome at the table during the annual China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue next week in Washington, said US diplomat Kurt Campbell.

It will be the first time the military has joined the high-level economic talks, Campbell said.

Analysts see the inclusion of the militaries in the May 9 and 10 talks as an effort to stabilize military-to-military relations.

It also could be a sign that the nations are working to improve communication and transparency. Analysts said military relations have long been the most sensitive and fragile part of China-US relations.

The dialogue will touch on a broad range of topics including nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran, as well as recent turmoil in the Middle East, said Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

The biggest obstacle to forging stable China-US relations is misunderstandings, Bruce Jones, director of the Managing Global Order, told China Daily.

“So it is very easy for something to be misinterpreted, a small thing to become a big thing. Friction can come quickly,” Jones said.

That is why the two countries need “to build some kind of security competent mechanism to allow both to understand what it is they need to do on security issues around China”, Jones said.

Beijing suspended military exchanges with Washington last year over the sale of more than $6 billion in arms to Taiwan. In June, China rejected a proposed visit by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But toward the end of the year, ties began to thaw through several lower-level military exchanges, culminating in Gates’ visit to China in early January.

Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, will visit the US from May 15-22.

Chen’s visit, the first in seven years by an officer of his rank, is part of efforts to implement a consensus reached by President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry.

One non-economic issue expected to be on the agenda includes human rights, which U.S. officials have said they will rise with their Chinese counterparts.

Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai was asked whether China thinks the United States focuses too much on human rights.

He avoided passing judgment, but he urged the U.S. government to pay more attention to China’s human rights developments rather than to be, in his words, “preoccupied with the individual cases” of people who have violated Chinese law.

These comments come amid China’s biggest security crackdown in years, which apparently is aimed at preventing any unrest inspired by the Jasmine Revolutions in the Middle East.