The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Rounds I-IV Strategic Track Outcomes
Since April 2009, when Presidents Obama and Hu established the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), it has become the premier forum for advancing a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship between the United States and China. The strategic track of the S&ED has harnessed the U.S.-China bilateral relationship to produce benefits for both the American and Chinese people through a wide range of joint projects and initiatives and expanded avenues for addressing common regional and global challenges such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan-South Sudan, and climate change. The S&ED has also served as a platform for building trust and understanding by identifying areas of shared interest and addressing disagreements. After four rounds of in-depth and candid discussions on the full range of issues under the strategic track of the S&ED, both sides acknowledge the progress we have made and that there is much more work to be done.
Tackling Today’s Pressing Challenges:
Since 2009, each round of the S&ED has provided the Secretary of State and our senior officials the opportunity to discuss the day’s most pressing issues, laying the groundwork for important diplomatic coordination on pressing regional security and proliferation issues such as Iran and North Korea and forging solutions to crises in places like Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria.
The S&ED has also enabled U.S. officials to raise our concerns – both publicly and privately – over areas of disagreement, such as human rights, in a candid and direct manner with China’s senior officials.
- The establishment of the Strategic Security Dialogue (SSD) at S&ED III has for the first time provided the United States and China a forum for civilian and military representatives together to discuss the most strategically sensitive issues in the relationship, such as cyber-security and maritime security. A regular venue for discussion of these issues is essential to mitigating the risks of miscalculation and fostering a clearer understanding of policies on both sides.
Building Habits of Cooperation:
The S&ED has supported global efforts to establish international norms by convening at S&ED II the highest-level bilateral meeting to date on global development issues; holding breakout sessions to discuss best practices for peacekeeping missions worldwide; and initiating discussions on growing international issues of importance such as threats in cyberspace. These regular discussions bring U.S. and Chinese officials together to forge relationships that can produce results.
The S&ED has served as a platform for initiating concrete projects that build habits of cooperation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration worked with their Chinese counterparts to support radiological material threat reduction and improve port and border security. The U.S.-China Aviation Cooperation Program has promoted safer aviation operations. Scientific agricultural cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and Chinese Ministry of Agriculture advanced food safety, greenhouse technologies, and seed breeding.
- The two sides have enhanced discussion of regional issues through the Asia-Pacific Consultations, established at S&ED III, and in sub-dialogues on Policy Planning, Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Central Asia. This year, we have also agreed to hold a subdialogue on the Middle East.
Enhancing Cooperation on Shared Global Challenges:
The United States and China have used the S&ED to expand cooperation on a wide-ranging array of global challenges, helping address energy, environment, development, and health concerns facing communities around the world.
U.S.-China development cooperation assessments on health in Ghana and Liberia and on food security in Tanzania, as well as joint training for ASEAN in urban search and rescue have shown that the United States and China can work together around the world to support common poverty reduction and economic growth goals.
- Agreements to cooperate on a wide range of energy and environment issues are enabling the United States and China to collaboratively explore solutions to the world’s need for clean and reliable sources of energy. For example, under the S&ED, the United States and China have expanded the “EcoPartnership Program,” creating 18 partnerships between state and local governments, businesses, and communities to support a wide range of energy and environmental goals, from conservation and river basin management to biogas utilization pilot projects.
Access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy is inextricably connected to increased economic development and a higher quality of life. Through the S&ED and the State Department’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) cooperated with China’s National Energy Administration and PetroChina to develop the geologic information necessary for a USGS resource assessment of part of the Liaohe Basin, helping provide a basis for future energy needs.
- The S&ED outcomes underscore our commitment to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China. Progress in tackling our shared challenges benefits both our countries and helps build a more stable and prosperous global future.