The United States and China begin high-level talks in Beijing, today. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner begin their Strategic Economic dialogue with their counterparts in China.
Topping the agenda of the talks will be Korean tensions after a multinational panel on Thursday blamed a North Korean submarine for torpedoing the South Korean navy corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. Tensions increased with South Korea planning to seek action from the UN Security Council and North Korea threatening an ‘all out war’ if these actions were taken. The US is expecting China to back the responses against North Korea, as North Korea is heavily dependant on China, its closest ally.
Speaking in Shanghai, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the importance of economic concerns for relations with China. The United States annual trade gap with China fell to US$226.8 billion last year, from US$268.0 billion in 2008. The Obama administration is anxious to lift exports and employment. This imbalance has fuelled accusations from the US Congress that China is manipulating its currency by keeping the price of the Yuan low against the dollar.
But, the US and Chinese officials have emphasized that the meeting in Beijing will not be dominated by talks on the Yuan.
China, US to launch talks with trade, North Korea in focus [Channel News Asia, May 24 2010]
Concerns over trade, Europe debt [ The Business Times. May 24 2010]