Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hillary Clinton on U.S. - China

So today, Tuesday, July 28th, was day two of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Secretary Clinton's schedule is quite intense for the day. It is kinda hard to keep up. I will post the official release from the State Department just to give an idea of what Hillary was up to today:

9:00 a.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Strategic Track family photo for the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue hosted by the Department of State and Department of Treasury, at the Department of State.

9:05 a.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Strategic Track Discussion Session II, at the Department of State.

10:30 a.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Memorandum of Understanding Signing of the Partnership on Clean Energy and Climate Change

11:00 a.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Strategic Track Session III, at the Department of State.

1:00 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Strategic Track luncheon, at the Department of State.

4:00 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton co-leads the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Meeting with President Obama, at the White House.

4:15 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Principles Meeting with President Obama, at the White House.

4:45 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in U.S. China closing statements.

5:20 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in a joint press conference with Treasury Secretary Geithner

8:30 p.m. EST - Secretary Clinton participates in the U.S.-China Business Council Dinner

One of the most important meetings that happened today was an agreement signed by the U.S. and China, the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, that promises greater co-operation in tackling climate change, energy and the environment.

Chinese and US officials signed the “memorandum of understanding” following high-level talks in Washington to discuss economic and other strategic issues, including climate change.

Secretary Clinton said the agreement highlights the importance of climate change in relations between the two nations.

“It also provides our countries with direction as we work together to support international climate negotiations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

She said both sides had extensive discussions over how to reduce emissions and move forward in advance of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December that aims to craft new global goals on controlling climate change.

Chinese state counsellor Dai Bingguo said both countries faced severe challenges posed by climate change and Beijing was committed to co-operating with Washington on the issue.

“I think our two countries have an important contribution to make to the global efforts to tackle climate change, to ensure energy security and to protect the environment and the only planet we have.”

Read the full remarks here or watch below:

The Secretary also lead the second day of the Strategic Track Session on Global Issues. She was joined by Secretary Sebelius to talk about healthcare, the Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, John Holdren, the President’s Science Advisor and many others across the government.

You can read her remarks here or watch a video from the State Department below:

On the issue of the economy, CNN is reporting that after enacting massive stimulus programs, the U.S. and China must decide how -- and when -- to phase out those programs without damaging their economies.

"The U.S. and China, in some ways, have acted more like each other than many of the other major economies," David Loevinger, the U.S. Treasury Department's senior coordinator for China, told reporters.

Both countries put in place "very aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus policies," he said. Those policies are starting to take effect, but "both sides are grappling with the timing of the withdrawal of their macroeconomic stimulus," he said.

"I think there was general agreement that it's very important that this doesn't occur too soon," Loevinger said, "because the recoveries are still very fragile, but also an acknowledgment that they have to take place at the right time and not let another set of imbalances and bubbles build up in the economy."

A major danger in both countries is inflation.

Economists said China is worried about the soaring U.S. fiscal deficit and any attempt by the United States to "inflate" its way out of the crisis. Such a move would hurt the value of Chinese investments in U.S. Treasury bonds.

At this meeting, American officials said they, in turn, are warning China that the U.S. economy has fundamentally changed in response to the crisis. Americans are saving more and buying less.

"If China's going to grow, it's not going to be able to grow by exporting to the U.S., and as far as we can tell, to the rest of the world."

At the end of the day it is very important to note that Secretary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qisha delivered closing remarks for U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Hillary spoke and basically laid out a clear picture for us all what exactly happened over the past two days, which issues were discussed and what agreements and disagreements happened. Here is a snippet from Hillary's remarks:

"What has taken place over the past two days is unprecedented in U.S.-China relations. The meetings we have just concluded represent the largest gathering ever of top leaders from our two countries. The range of issues covered was unparalleled. And the result is that we have laid the foundation for a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st century.

Our governments released a joint statement summarizing our discussions. During our meetings, we spoke candidly about some of the world’s most difficult challenges. We agreed that further cooperation and action is needed to achieve global economic recovery, to promote stability in Northeast Asia, resume the Six-Party Talks, and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1874 to address ongoing threats of violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, to encourage Iran to live up to its international obligations, and to work toward peace and stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

We made progress in working toward the global nuclear security summit that President Obama has called for next spring. And I’m pleased to announce that we will be conducting U.S.-China talks on counterterrorism this fall. We agreed to a continuation and expansion of our military-to-military relations and to robust educational, cultural, scientific, and people-to-people diplomacy.

For our part, the United States was proud to reaffirm our participation in the Shanghai World Expo next year. And later this evening, we and our Chinese colleagues will participate in a dinner of American business leaders and citizens supporting that effort. In areas where we do not always agree, such as human rights, we had candid and respectful exchanges."

I thought what she said here was quite profound:
"Sunday night, the state councilor and I and a few of our aides were having dinner, and in the course of what was a very relaxed and social occasion, we were discussing our families. And State Councilor Dai informed us that he had a new grandson. As we began talking, we realized that all that we were doing was really on behalf of our children and our grandchildren.

I said that perhaps at the beginning of every government dialogue, we should all take out pictures of our children and our grandchildren and put them on the tables in front of us to be reminded of what was at stake in our high-level negotiations. As State Councilor Dai said, those photos would remind us of the task ahead and of our responsibility to move forward and of the future we are trying to build."

Read her full remarks here or watch below:

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