China, US vow to end old rivalries

July 10, 2014 - 1:28:31 am

BEIJING:  China and the United States met for high-level talks yesterday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging the world’s two biggest economies to break old patterns of confrontation.

Given their different histories and cultures “it is natural that China and the US may have different views and even frictions on certain issues,” Xi told the opening of the two-day annual talks in Beijing. “This is what makes communication and cooperation even more necessary,” he urged.  

The sixth Strategic and Economic Dialogue comes as tensions have risen in recent months -- racked by maritime disputes between China and its neighbours as well as US fears over cybersecurity and Chinese hacking.

“Our interests are more than ever interconnected,” Xi insisted, saying the two “stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.” “If we are in confrontation it will surely spell disaster for both countries and for the world,” he said, adding the Pacific powers needed to “break the old pattern of inevitable confrontation.”

US President Barack Obama agreed, saying: “The United States and China will not always see eye-to-eye on every issue.”

That was “why we need to build our relationship around common challenges, mutual responsibilities, and shared interests, even while we candidly address our differences,” Obama said.

Topping the agenda yesterday were discussions on how to tackle climate change, as the two largest emitters of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming agreed to launch eight pilot projects aimed at reducing their carbon footprints. “People around the world are demanding action,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a working group on the issue.

“Climate change respects no borders, no boundaries, and affects the entire planet. For better or worse, we are now aware of the consequences of inaction in ways that we never have before.”

US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern said the two sides had had some “constructive” talks before a UN meeting in Paris next year due to set new global gas emissions targets for after 2020.                          AFP