The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings scheduled for next week are expected to lay the roadmap for a fruitful state visit by President Xi Jinping to the United States in September, experts said.
"The S&ED's agenda and degree of success will be assessed by both sides in this context, as to whether it would set the agenda, or set in motion the processes that will increase the chances of a positive state visit, or create a positive atmosphere for a state visit," said Kenneth Lieberthal, senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
"The most important part of state visits is typically that they are action-forcing events," he said. "They force the top staff on both sides to take up the issues that are the deepest and most difficult issues, to try to be sure that they can come out at a better place, so that the state visit ends up being a successful one," he said.
Lieberthal, joined by Cheng Li and David Dollar, also senior fellows at Brookings, made the comments during a panel discussion about the S&ED on Wednesday in New York.
The event was hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Lieberthal said that he expects the U.S. and China to address cyber intrusion and the South China Sea－two issues that have been contributing to distrust between the two countries－at the meeting in Washington from next Tuesday to Wednesday.
On cyber intrusion, he said that the U.S. and China need to establish peacetime norms of mutual restraint, for helping to determine whether something that occurs in peacetime is a violation of those norms.
"It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time venting over, making accusations about, getting hyperbolic about things that frankly both sides do and neither government would ever stop doing," he said.
"So we need to sort that out and structure that kind of negotiation to get peacetime norms," he said.
Established in 2009 by President Barack Obama and then Chinese President Hu Jintao, the annual S&ED is the highest-level bilateral meeting between the two countries.
Delegations from both sides discuss issues related to regional and global economics, trade and investment.
The State Department said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will join State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice-Premier Wang Yang for the seventh round of the S&ED.
Kerry also will participate in the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange with Vice-Premier Liu Yandong.
Dollar, an economist, said that he does not anticipate many economic outcomes at the conclusion of the S&ED.
Subjects that the U.S. is concerned about－one being that China opens up its service sector－remain areas that China has signaled will be difficult to negotiate, he said.
"So we're certainly not going to see any kind of announcement next week, except perhaps the two sides saying they remain committed to negotiating a bilateral investment treaty," he said.
Dollar said he expects that if economic negotiations are successful, more results will be announced after Xi's state visit in September rather than at the conclusion of the S&ED next week.