President and Obama aide agree in Beijing that points of difference must be properly managed
Washington hopes to see President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to the United States become "a milestone" in relations, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said during a Beijing trip in preparation for Xi's visit.
Both sides said it is necessary to manage and control points of difference, according to a Friday meeting between Xi and Rice in Beijing.
The September trip will be the first state visit to the U.S. by Xi as president.
Rice told Xi that "President Obama and Mrs Obama very much look forward to welcoming you and Madame Peng", and that "it will be a great opportunity" to strengthen and deepen cooperation between the two countries.
Xi said that negotiations should be accelerated over the Bilateral Investment Treaty, military-to-military cooperation should be reinforced, and the two countries should strive for progress in fields such as energy and infrastructure.
China is willing to work with the U.S. to "manage and control sensitive issues in constructive approaches", and the two should "expand common ground and narrow divergence", Xi said.
Rice also said that the two countries "have issues of difference and some difficulties", adding that Washington is willing to properly tackle differences in the relationship.
Earlier this year, Washington's high profile on the South China Sea issue, including denouncing China's construction on territorial islands, has led to Beijing's criticism.
But bilateral interaction on defense affairs, including high-level visits and planned joint drills, continue as well among the two countries, which are each other's second-largest trading partner.
Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that U.S.-China relations have become more complicated and that "third-party factors" in the South China Sea region have interfered with China-U.S. relations or influenced U.S. foreign policy.
Regarding "the new normal" of the relations, Su said both sides probably need proper adaptation to it, since "both need to have more understanding and tolerance, and give each other more room for cooperation".
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, in an article published on Wednesday on The National Interest magazine website, said, "Even on those controversial issues, cooperation - instead of confrontation - is key to finding solutions."
Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, told Rice on Friday that progress has been made in establishing a mutual reporting mechanism on major military operations and a code of conduct on naval and air military encounters.
But "there are noises over some issues", Fan said, urging the two sides to control disputes and risks.
Rice, who serves as a top foreign policy adviser to Obama, said the two sides can strengthen dialogue and communication and cooperate more.
Pang Zhongying, dean of the School of Global Studies at Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University, said that there is a growing demand from the U.S. for stronger teamwork with China in "both economy and defense domains".
Additionally, since Obama's second term as president winds down next year, the White House is considering the Obama legacy in diplomacy, such as the U.S.-China relationship, Pang said.
In talks earlier on Friday with Rice, State Councilor Yang Jiechi said China and the U.S. should "realize positive interactions in the Asia-Pacific region".
Close communication and coordination have been maintained regarding major global issues, such as climate change and disease prevention and control, as well as hot spot regional issues, Yang said.
As China prepares to host commemorative events on Sept 3 to mark the victory in World War II, Rice said that the U.S. has spoken highly of the huge contributions made by the Chinese in that war as well as the deep friendship nurtured between the two countries.