John Kerry, Xi Jinping

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China's President Xi Jinping sit next to each other as they participate in a Joint Opening Session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing July 9. Pic: AP

BEIJING (AP) — The United States is prodding China to move toward a market exchange rate and settle its maritime disputes with neighbors.

China, meanwhile, is stressing the need to avoid confrontations so the world’s two biggest economies can contribute to peace and prosperity around the world.

Officials from the two nations are meeting in Beijing for the annual “Strategic and Economic Dialogue.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping formally opened the annual talks Wednesday, saying quote, “The vast Pacific Ocean has ample space to accommodate our two great nations.”

The U.S. is being led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Lew says that both countries’ workers and companies need a level playing field. He is urging reform of China’s currency.