China to press US on maritime issues

Beijing, May 31 (IANS) Beijing will pressure Washington over maritime issues during the upcoming annual strategic and economic dialogue, as the US’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea is among the country’s major concerns, officials here said.

China will bring up topics including the Taiwan question, Tibet and maritime security, and it will respond to the Korean peninsula nuclear issue which the US is expected to raise, China Daily on Tuesday quoted officials as saying.

The two countries have differing pursuits on major issues at the strategic level. However, the two still have many common interests, the officials said.

Whether it is on the South China Sea issue or on Korean peninsula, China and the US have a shared security goal to maintain regional stability, they said.

The annual dialogue will take place in Beijing on June 6 and 7, authorities said on Monday.

China hopes to “properly tackle differences” with the US, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

The dialogue, which started in 2009, has become the highest-level, regular bilateral communication channel for the world’s two largest economies to compare notes on key issues concerning diplomacy, security and economy.

Observers noted that the eighth dialogue will be the last to be co-chaired by US President Barack Obama’s administration.

Nathan Sheets, US undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, reaffirmed on May 24 the Obama administration’s commitment to reaching a bilateral investment treaty before the president’s term ends in November.

Sources also said China will urge the US to provide a level playing field for Chinese investment.

China’s investment in the US in the first quarter of this year is expected to be more than double that of the first quarter of last year, according to the National Committee on US-China Relations in New York.

Ruan Zongze, Vice-President of the China Institute of International Studies, said the South China Sea issue will be brought to the table because it has affected the two-way ties, and the US has been “undermining regional stability” while “rebalancing to Asia” in the past two years.

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