Hu Jintao calls for mutual respect between the U.S. and China

Chinese President Hu Jintao called for mutual respect between the U.S. and China at the opening of “strategic and economic dialogue” on Thursday, May 3. The dialogue was overshadowed by the Sino-US friction on the delicate issue of the dissident Chen Guangcheng.

Speaking at the opening of the diplomatic and economic talks in Beijing, Hu urged the two largest economies in the world to cooperate and understand each other better, warning that any deterioration of their relationship would be “severe” risk for the world.

“Given the different national contexts, it is impossible for China and the United States to agree on everything,” said the Chinese president at the opening of the dialogue.

“We should discuss our differences in the right way, respect the interests and concerns of each country. We should manage our differences properly through dialogue and mutual understanding,” he said.

The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner attended the dialogue.

The Sino-US dialogue, which is held alternately in China and the United States, has traditionally been an opportunity for dialogue on important economic issues and international politics between the two powers. But this year the preparations were disrupted by the case of the civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng who fled to the Embassy of the United States. Chen left the embassy Wednesday where he had stayed for six days after China gave “guarantees” to his security.

Without mentioning the name of dissent, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday in Beijing that all governments must meet the aspirations of their citizens to dignity and the rule of law.