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China's Xi opens US talks with plea not to fear disagreements
[HONG KONG] President Xi Jinping opened an annual meeting of top US and Chinese officials by listing areas where cooperation brought success, striking a cooperative tone even as tensions simmer over China's economic policy and land- reclamation work in the South China Sea.
The world's two biggest economies have seen tangible benefits in the areas of economic policy communication, military exchanges and a landmark climate-change agreement last December, Mr Xi said at the start of the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing. He said China and the US shouldn't fear disagreements.
"It's not scary to have disagreements," Mr Xi said.
"The key is not to use disagreements as an excuse for confrontation. Some disputes may not be solved in a short time. Both sides should put themselves in each others' shoes and manage them in a pragmatic and constructive way."
While Mr Xi didn't mention any points of contention, the two sides have butted heads over the US pivot to the region and China's more assertive foreign policy, which has included land reclamation on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
That issue dominated discussions at a security forum in Singapore over the weekend, with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter saying China risked building a "Great Wall of self-isolation" through its actions on the South China Sea.
The Chinese president didn't name any specific sticking point between the two powers. Non-confrontation and shelving disputes to seek mutual benefits was the message he chose to send in the most senior-level annual dialogue mechanism between two countries. China and the United States have "vast common interests" in the Asia Pacific region, which should not become "an arena of competition", he said.
The annual dialogue is taking place today and Tuesday, and is led by Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi on the Chinese side, and Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lewon the US side.
Ahead of the talks, Mr Lew urged China to improve monetary policy communication as it takes on an increasingly large role in the global economy.