- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - To relieve tensions, ease up on mistrust and develop more respect. That’s a leading policy think tank’s prescription for the leaders of the United States and China.

The two countries could make the world a better place by working in harmony, the Center for Strategic and International Studies says in a new report.

“U.S.-Chinese ties could have a greater impact on international affairs than any other relationship,” the report said.

Global financial instability, proliferation of weapons and terrorism could all be eased by U.S.-Chinese cooperation, the report said, as well as the challenges surrounding climate change and energy.

“U.S.-China partnership is indispensable for addressing many of the main challenges of the 21st century,” said the think tank’s commission on China.

While disagreements are unavoidable, they should be handled diplomatically and privately, the report recommended.

The commission recommended that Washington and Beijing expand the number of diplomats and young professionals in each other’s countries. It also recommended the creation of a joint public-private task force to promote technology exchanges, and initiate energy and climate projects.

President Barack Obama last week signaled a need for more frequent and intense communications with China to avoid military confrontations that could upset a relationship crucial to solving global crises.

Obama spoke against the backdrop of lingering mistrust over a confrontation in the South China Sea involving an unarmed American ship. A top U.S. commander, Adm. Timothy Keating, testified to a Senate committee Thursday that the run-in shows China will not behave acceptably.

On Monday, meanwhile, China’s chief climate negotiator, Li Gao, said countries buying Chinese goods should be held responsible for heat-trapping gases released during manufacturing in China.

China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. But 15 to 25 percent of its emissions are generated by manufacturing goods for export, Li said.

The fact that the United States and China are the world’s first and third largest economies makes the two countries “inextricably linked,” the report said.

In the worldwide economic slump, demand is weak in the United States and China, which contributes to the global economic downturn and threatens to ignite already simmering trade tensions between the two countries.

The report was co-chaired by William Cohen, a former defense secretary, and Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, former head of American International Group Inc., the insurance giant that has been propped up by a massive federal bailout. Greenberg is now CEO of CV Starr & Co., a privately held company.

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