China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo (bottom row, 5th L), China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan (6th L), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (5th R) and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (4th R) stand with participants in the first joint meeting of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue for a family photo in Washington July 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES POLITICS BUSINESS)
China and the United States convened today for their annual two-day conference to discuss relations between the two powerhouse nations. The stakes are raised this year, and everyone is playing for keeps.
The economy and recovery is one of the most important issues on the agenda. One of the major recent pushes has been for China to promote its domestic markets rather than relying on the international markets, specifically the United States. U.S. households are saving at a rate not seen in decades, meaning that they are not spending the money they once did. This shift in consumer spending does not loan itself to a strong a quick recovery for either nation.
In a joint op-ed article printed in The Washington Post, Secretary of State Clinton and Treasury Secretary Geithner stated, “Simply put, few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone and few can be solved without the U.S. and China together.”
China has sent over 150 diplomats to the discussions, signifying that China understands the critical nature of their relationship with the U.S. China is currently the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury debt with $801.5 billion worth of bonds. They are also on the losing end of an enormous U.S. trade deficit that has improved slightly this year, but still stands at a staggering disadvantage.
In opening remarks Secretary Clinton stated, “This dialogue…marks the beginning of an unprecedented effort to lay the foundation for a positive, cooperative and comprehensive U.S.-Chinese relationship in the 21st century.”