ABC News' Kirit Radia and Matt Jaffe report: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner today wrapped up two days of senior dialogue with Chinese officials – the broadest such discussions in the history of Sino-American relations – by praising the progress they had made on matters as broad as security, economics, energy, and climate change.
Though the main goal this week was simply to launch the dialogue, it would appear that no concrete agreements were reached on any of the myriad topics on the table.
In fact, China’s most tangible take away from the meetings may be the signed basketball they received from President Obama, which one Chinese official raised above his head during the policy-makers’ closing remarks.
Clinton, who had been criticized for saying on trip to China last February that human rights would take a backseat in US-Chinese relations, said today that she expressed US concerns with the Chinese during this week’s meetings, including over the recent clashes with Uighur separatists in China’s western Xinjiang province.
Speaking later, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said China appreciated Washington’s “moderate attitude” in response to the situation in Xinjiang, which he called “a highly violent terrorist act.”
Earlier today Clinton and Energy Secretary Chu oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese on energy and climate change, launching an expanded ongoing dialogue on those subjects. The agreement did not decide any of the contentious issues, but rather laid out a framework for future discussions.
On the economic front, Geithner said the two countries had settled on a “broad framework” of measures that will help lay the foundation for global recovery. China, he said, will increase domestic demand-led growth, while the US will work to sustain rising savings rates and seek to slash its soaring budget deficit.
China, the largest foreign holder of US government debt, has voiced increased concerns about the US deficit, which has shot above $1 trillion with three months still left in the fiscal year.
“Once we are confident that recovery is firmly established,” Geithner stated, as he has in the past, “We will move to reverse these exceptional steps we’ve had to take to help address the crisis.”
In a fact sheet, Treasury stated the administration’s commitment to “reducing the federal budget deficit relative to GDP to a sustainable level by 2013.”