Beijing has called upon Washington to achieve "proper management and control over divergence and sensitive issues" as US President Barack Obama will visit China soon.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi delivered the message when meeting with visiting US national security adviser Susan Rice on Monday, and he confirmed that the two countries have "begun preparations" for Obama attending the APEC leaders' summit in China in November.
Despite having traded barbs this year over maritime issues and security interests, the two major powers showed a clear, shared readiness to "synchronize agendas" and eliminate major distractions, observers noted. Rice is paying her first visit to China since she became national security adviser in July 2013. Yang told her China welcomes Obama's visit and will work with Washington to make it a success.
The top White House national security aide said Obama is very much looking forward to his visit as he views it as a "milestone" in bilateral relations.
Rice called the relationship "very important to the United States" and said having this kind of "high-level, continuing dialogue is helpful to enable us to sustain and deepen the type of productive relations".
Yuan Peng, a US studies expert and vice-president of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the trip "has created a good atmosphere" for the presidential visit".
"Both Beijing and Washington have made known that they are unwilling to see the relationship continue spiraling down," Yuan said.
Liu Xuecheng, a researcher at the China Institutes of International Studies, said it is necessary for Beijing to place "reining in disputes" on its policy agenda and make sure that disputes are "controllable" if it wants to maximise its interests.
On Monday, the countries agreed to accelerate negotiations on the Bilateral Investment Treaty, and to expand cooperation in fields including the economy and trade, counterterrorism, military-to-military relationships as well as culture.
Stronger coordination and cooperation have been pledged by both sides regarding climate change, food safety, the fight against the Ebola virus and peacekeeping.
Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said the gamesmanship will surely continue between Beijing and Washington over who gets the biggest say in the Asia-Pacific region, but "the bigger picture is that both nations have made up their minds" to avert the tragedy of destroying each other.
Rice said Obama asked her to travel here "even as there are many other issues on our shared global agenda because of the priority he attached to the US-China relations."
Patrick Ventrell, a National Security Council spokesman, said that it is important to maintain direct and close contact with the Chinese leadership on a range of pressing issues.
"The reality is that there are few global problems of the 21st century that will be solved without the US and China at the table," Ventrell said.
Rice is in China from Sunday to Tuesday on the invitation of Yang. She is scheduled to meet other Chinese leaders on Tuesday.