The US and China announced a new "strategic economic dialogue" Wednesday in which both countries would aim to grapple with the long-term issues arising from China's emergence as a leading economic power, the <i>Financial Times</i> reported. The dialogue will be led by Hank Paulson, the new US treasury secretary who began a three-day tour to the mainland Wednesday, and Wu Yi, the vice-premier responsible for trade and foreign investment policy. The dialogue will steer clear of China's renminbi policy and other near term issues such as piracy of intellectual property, the trade imbalance and, to some extent, human rights, the newspaper said. These will continue to be dealt with through existing bilateral contacts. Paulson and Wu will meet twice a year and each government will establish an inter-agency group of top officials in economic and foreign policy to continue the dialogue at a senior official level. A senior US administration official told the newspaper the mechanism was the "first of its kind" in US international economic relations.