China and the United States highlighted their resolve to forge a stronger cooperative partnership on Thursday, a development observers said helps reduce the risk of instability in the Asia-Pacific region.
But while increasing exchanges in various fields, including the military, would boost mutual trust, more efforts are needed in sensitive areas such as territorial issues in the East and South China seas if Sino-US ties are to reach their full potential, observers said.
President Xi Jinping said he and President Barack Obama are determined to ensure the healthy and stable growth of China-US ties and ensure that they stay "on a correct track".
"China is willing to make concerted efforts to this end," he told the two delegations at the annual China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange held in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Xi that Washington welcomes and wants a strong, prosperous and stable China.
"And we mean what we say when we emphasise that there's no US strategy to try to push back against or be in conflict with China," he said.
The dialogue is more about managing an increasingly complex and at times testy relationship, Reuters said.
After discussions on topics ranging from military relations to climate change and cybersecurity, State Councilor Yang Jiechi restated China's stance on territorial issues to a roomful of reporters on Thursday.
"China will continue to steadfastly protect its territorial and maritime rights" in the South and East China seas, Yang said at a news conference as the talks wrapped up.
Yang urged the US to adopt an objective and impartial stance and abide by its promise not to take sides but rather to play a constructive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability.
Shi Yinhong, an expert on Sino-US relations at Renmin University of China, said the world's No 1 and No 2 economies have made great progress and enjoy huge potential in economic, educational and cultural cooperation, but their strategic friction remains a bottleneck.
Sino-US ties were strained recently over the territorial issues between China and US allies Japan and the Philippines, and by US allegations of Chinese cyberspying. These thorny issues call for proper management for the sake of Asia-Pacific stability, even though it may be a long-term task, Shi said.
Chen Dongxiao, president of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said that as long as China sticks to its peaceful path and prioritizes reform and development, it does not need to reach national rejuvenation by challenging US leadership.
"And as long as the US adheres to reviving its domestic economy and highlights its 'soft power' instead of military intervention on the international stage, it can maintain its leadership, which is not necessarily strengthened by confronting China," Chen said.