The US and China pledged to work together on a raft of issues from climate change to free trade to Iran as they set the stage for an era of closer cooperation.
The mood was upbeat as the Pacific powers wrapped up two days of in-depth talks on Tuesday, but even US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the dialogue was more about ideas than specifics, with the two sides mostly agreeing to hold more talks on a broad swath of issues.
“Laying this groundwork may not deliver a lot of concrete achievements immediately, but every step on this path to create confidence and understanding is a very good investment,” Clinton told reporters.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the two countries were committed to working together to revive the ailing global economy and would firmly resist protectionism in the process.
He said China had agreed to longstanding US economic concerns, with the two nations agreeing to treat foreign-owned firms operating in their markets equally to domestic companies in awarding government contracts.
He said China also promised it would work to boost domestic demand, making consumption a bigger slice of the economy.
Geithner's remarks were echoed by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (王岐山), who said the two countries “will strengthen cooperation to jointly build a strong financial system” to ensure “stability in the two countries and the world at large.”
Clinton said she raised concerns about China's human rights record including recent ethnic violence in Muslim-majority Xinjiang Province.
“Human rights is absolutely integral to the Strategic and Economic Dialogue,” Clinton said. “It is a part of our policy, not only with China, but with other countries.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya (王光亞) thanked the US for its “moderate” stance on Xinjiang.
Dozens of Uighurs held a noisy protest, chanting “Shame on China” outside the White House as a motorcade of Chinese delegates arrived for the talks' finale.
In Beijing, the Chinese government summoned the Japanese ambassador to protest the visit to Tokyo by exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, the foreign ministry said in a statement on its Web site.
Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei (武大偉) summoned Japanese Ambassador Yuji Miyamoto to express China's “strong dissatisfaction” over the issue.