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U.S.-China leaders engage in Washington and Beijing on strategic and economic ties

May 09, 2012
U.S.-China leaders engage in Washington and Beijing on strategic and economic ties (AP Photos)

U.S.-China leaders engage in Washington and Beijing on strategic and economic ties

High-level American and Chinese officials visited each other’s countries in early May 2012 to engage on strategic and economic ties.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner were in Beijing May 3-4 to join their Chinese co-chairs, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, for the fourth joint meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).  As with earlier S&EDs, this year’s event was a “whole of government” dialogue that brought together cabinet members and agency heads, as well as other officials and experts, from agencies across both of our governments.  In addition, Secretary Clinton co-chaired with Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong the third U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) that took place May 3-4 in Beijing.  The CPE aims to enhance and strengthen ties between the citizens of the United States and China in the areas of culture, education, sports, science and technology, and women’s issues.
 
As Secretary Clinton was leaving China, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie arrived for a visit in the United States.  Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta welcomed General Liang to the Pentagon May 7 as part of the first U.S. visit by a Chinese defense minister in nine years.
 
Liang’s visit occurs at a time when the armed forces of both nations seek to expand cooperation, improve understanding, build trust and reduce differences.
 
“The United States and China are both Pacific powers, and our relationship is one of the most critical in the world,” Panetta said at a news conference with Liang after their meeting.
 
“In my meeting with General Liang, I expressed my commitment to achieving and maintaining a healthy, stable, reliable and continuous [military-to-military] relationship with China,” the secretary said, adding that at Liang’s invitation he will visit China within the next few months.
 
“We share many interests across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond,” Panetta added, “from humanitarian assistance to concerns about weapons of mass destruction to terrorism to drug interdictions to trade to counterpiracy.”
 
Liang spoke through an interpreter, describing the purpose of his visit as being “to implement the important agreement reached by President Hu Jintao and President [Barack] Obama on developing the China-U.S. state-to-state and military-to-military relationship.”
 
As part of that agreement, the general said, both nations’ militaries will continue to take advantage of ongoing defense consultative talks, defense policy coordination talks, the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement and the defense telephone link between Washington and Beijing.
 
Both sides, he added, acknowledge that cooperation in security areas in the Asia-Pacific region serves each other's fundamental interests, and that both agree to conduct joint exercises on disaster recovery and counterpiracy operations this year.
 
On his tour of U.S. defense facilities, Liang visited Naval Base San Diego in California over the weekend. After he leaves Washington, he will travel to Miami to visit the U.S. Southern Command and its commander, Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser.
 
There, Southcom officials will highlight opportunities for practical cooperation in areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and expand the conversation on nontraditional security cooperation efforts such as counternarcotics, an important part of Southcom’s mission.
 
May 9, Liang will visit Camp Lejeune, N.C., for meetings and interaction with 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and a chance to interact with some of the senior Marine Corps noncommissioned officers.
He also will visit Fort Benning, Ga., Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to have lunch with cadets.
 
More information on General Liang’s visit is available on the Department of Defense website.

 

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