It's the diplomatic event of the year as far as Sino-American relations are concerned. July 9-10, 2014 marked the sixth annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (中美战略与经济对话). The purpose of such a gathering? To have high-level functionaries address the challenges of the political, geo-strategic, and economic issues between the two countries. While I would prefer them to have than diplomatic discussions over doing something like go to war, I still have to wonder how constructive such dialogues can be. This is particularly because one country views the party as adversaries in a zero-sum world.
Since it implemented the export-growth model, China has been very dependent on American consumption. China also fueled American consumption, which is why the two have developed an unhealthy dependence upon one another. There are also many issues that impede growth of Sino-American relations. Taiwan has been an issue for decades now, and given that Taiwan is more democratic in nature and Beijing is still hung up on its nationalism, I don't see that going away anytime soon. There have been increasing tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea, not to mention the cyber attacks that have resulted in the indictment of five members of the Chinese army. National security issues such as these are contentious, and are more likely to be sorted out in a non-diplomatic arena, although if you are worried about balance of power, you'll need China's cooperation. Rather than focus on what cannot be achieved through these dialogues, how about what can be done to ameliorate Sino-American relations?
Economics seem like a good place to start. The United States should focus on helping China liberalize its markets instead of enacting tariffs or calling China a currency manipulator (because honestly, there are much more egregious culprits of currency manipulation going on out there). China should focus on liberalizing its markets, especially its capital markets, instead of giving into reactionary, corrupt politics. Giving a jumpstart to the bilateral investment treaty would do some good. The United States could remove its export controls on China, and China needs to stop erecting trade barriers. Protectionism only benefits the very few while causing net economic loss for many. Rather than view the other as adversaries or have conferences that cover too many topics for a two-day period, maybe they should view themselves as partners of engendering amicable relations via liberalized trade. A paradigm shift would go a long way in promoting proper economic interdependence.