China's state newspaper stresses common interests with US ahead of dialogue

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's leading state newspaper on Saturday hailed the common interests between China and the United States, striking a positive tone days ahead of a key annual bilateral meeting.

The commentary published in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party, praised the "new model of major country relations" between the world's two largest economies and stressed that differences could be overcome.

The article comes at a time of increased tension in US-China ties. In recent months, Beijing and Washington have clashed over China's island building in the South China Sea and cyber attacks that some have blamed on China.

The annual Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held June 23-24 in Washington, and is expected to cover issues ranging from climate change to human rights.

The US has called for a halt in China's island building in the South China Sea, which has accelerated since last year and alarmed some of China's neighbours. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion (S$6.7 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes every year.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. This week, China's Foreign Ministry said it would soon complete some of its land reclamation work in the area.

Earlier this month, US officials said that hackers had broken into the Office of Personnel Management, an attack widely believed to have originated in China. China has denied any involvement in hacking US databases.

The People's Daily noted the "broad mutual interests" and the two countries' shared responsibility for world peace and development. It hailed the achievements of the bilateral relationship, including close cooperation on issues including North Korea's nuclear programme, Afghanistan and climate change.

The commentary was published under the pen name "Zhong Sheng", meaning "Voice of China". This section is often used to present the paper's view on foreign policy issues.