Now that the U.S. elections are out of the way and with it the anti-China rhetoric, there is a chance for the world's two largest economies to "refresh" their relationship, said former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
The presidential election in the U.S. has coincided with the leadership change in China which has given rise "sometimes to a poisonous environment. But now the political sound-bites that accompany those events will all dissipate. I think we have a very important opening here that must be recognized by both sides," Huntsman told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.
He added that China and the U.S. have an opening of two to three years during which they should put forward ideas for a new reinvigorated strategic dialogue.
"In other words, updating and refreshing the relationship to make it a more 21st century relationship, recognizing that both are on the world stage and that it is truly a global relationship," Huntsman, who was the U.S. ambassador to China from 2009-2011 and quit last year to run for a Republican presidential nomination, said.
Tensions between the two super powers have been high this year as China-bashing took center stage during the run up to the presidential election on November 6.
Washington also complained in September to the WTO that China doled out at least $1 billion in subsidies to Chinese auto and auto parts exporters over 2009-2011. China then filed a counter-complaint, saying Washington had slapped unfair tariffs on at least two dozen Chinese products shipped to the U.S.
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"But now I am kind of optimistic as I look over the next two and three years because we won't have a whole lot of the traditional incumbencies that come with elections here and leadership changes there," Huntsman added.
He was also hopeful that China's new leaders, to be announced on Thursday, will be more reform-minded than their predecessors because Chinese people are demanding it.
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"They are asking for greater participation, more of a voice, which I think is inevitable when you have 600 million internet users and some 90-odd million bloggers who are carrying on a conversation that is altogether unprecedented in Chinese society," he added.
—By CNBC's Jean Chua.