Date
24 May 2017
The US side, led by Antony Blinken, reiterated its concerns about China's pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters
The US side, led by Antony Blinken, reiterated its concerns about China's pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters

US, China begin annual talks on security, economic issues

The United States and China held “candid and to-the-point” talks at the start of three days of high-level meetings aimed at managing the complex relationship between the world’s two biggest economies, a senior US official said.

The US side, led Monday by deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken, reiterated its concerns about China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, Reuters reported, citing the unnamed official.

US worries about cybersecurity following massive attacks on government computers that US officials have blamed on Chinese hackers would also be addressed “in very direct terms”, the official said.

More than 400 Chinese officials are in Washington for the annual talks under the wide-ranging Strategic and Economic Dialogue framework, which will involve eight US cabinet secretaries.

The two sides will try to ease tensions by stressing areas of cooperation, including climate change, shared concerns about Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, the fight against Islamist militancy, and support for global development.

“We have agreed with the Chinese that we are going to try to expand those areas where our interests overlap and expand cooperation in those areas,” the US official said.

Blinken and Secretary of State John Kerry will chair the security side of the talks with State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on the Chinese side.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang will chair the economic elements, and the top Chinese officials will meet Obama at the White House Wednesday.

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RC/FL

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