WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- The United States and China ended their third round Strategic and Economic Dialogue Tuesday, agreeing to boost economic ties and promote sustainable growth.
Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, one of the Chinese delegation leaders to the Washington talks, said the comprehensive framework reached by the two countries can help open new areas of cooperation and help develop new growth models for both countries, China Daily reported. His commission is China's top economic planner.
The talks opened with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stressing the two countries need to be "honest with each other" despite disagreements and expressing Washington's concerns about human rights, noting "the recent crackdown in China, including attacks, arrests and the disappearance of journalists, lawyers, bloggers and artists." He added protecting fundamental rights and freedoms "is the best way to promote long-term stability and prosperity of any society."
President Barack Obama, who met with the two sides before the start of the talks, also expressed U.S. concerns about human rights in China, and underscored his support for the universal rights of freedom of expression and worship, and of access to information and political participation.
The New York Times reported the two sides agreed the talks could help achieve bigger results.
One feature of the latest round was the expanded agenda that included talks between the military leaders of the two countries in addition to economic and other issues.
On human rights, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai was quoted as saying others bring up the issue probably because "they are trying to make some political gains and hoping that this can draw attention from the press." He stressed "the historic progress" of human rights in his country, adding the United States also need to keep making progress in this area.
On the valuation of the yuan, which is seen as giving China an unfair advantage to run up huge trade surpluses, and other trade issues, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, "We are seeing very promising shifts in the direction of Chinese economic policy."
The Times reported the Chinese government agreed to make it easier for foreign companies to win government contracts by eliminating a system of preferences.
"I think the dialogue showed again why engagement with China mattered, because there were results that were important for U.S. companies," said John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents the interests of American companies in China, the Times reported.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who led the U.S. side, told reporters the two sides "covered a lot of ground together and I am happy to report we have made a lot of progress."
Vice Premier Wang Qishan, leader of the Chinese side, agreed with Clinton, saying the latest round helped build on the momentum of deepening bilateral ties and both sides sought to step up cooperation based on the consensus reached during Chinese President Hu Jintao's U.S. visit in January, Xinhua reported.
The framework said: "The United States and China affirm that both countries will, based on common interest, promote more extensive economic cooperation, from a strategic, long-term, and overarching perspective, to work together to build a comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership, add to prosperity and welfare in the two countries, and achieve strong, sustainable, and balanced growth of the world economy."