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4 Jun, 2013

Will the Upcoming China-U.S. Summit Lead to Cooperation or Confrontation?

By Ruan Zongze, (People's Daily Online)

June 01, 2013 – Recently, U.S. media is paying more and more attention to the upcoming China-U.S. presidential summit. On May 27, American officials visited China, paving the way for Xi-Obama meeting. Meanwhile, the 2013 Fortune Global Forum (FGF) will be held in the city of Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province from June 6 to 8. This forum is regarded as a new opportunity for China-U.S. friendship. Behind all this, all eyes are on Xi-Obama meeting.

The summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled for June 7 to 8 in Rancho Mirage, California. The world will hold the breath when the leaders of the world’s largest and second largest economies sit together.

The leaders of the two sides will have sufficient time for conversation, in the natural and casual environment for deeper, more thorough and more candid communication. Such meeting format is the first of its kind in over 30 years of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. It is a pioneering move to strengthen exchanges between the two leaders, reflecting China-U.S. relations is gradually moving towards being pragmatic, as expected by both sides.

Of course, people are more concerned about what the two leaders will talk about.

When President Xi met with Thomas Donilon, Deputy Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs on May 27, he said he was looking forward to meeting with President Obama early June for extensive communication on major strategic issues of common concern to deepen understanding, enhance mutual trust, and build consensus as well as promote cooperation.

The China-U.S. relationship is undoubtedly the world’s most important bilateral relationship, but it is also the most difficult one. The two sides are facing unprecedented opportunities, but also need to overcome unprecedented difficulties. Currently traditional security is intertwined with non-traditional security threats, with high politics and low politics, adding more complex variables to the development of China-U.S. relations. How to control these differences and contradictions will determine whether this relationship can be lasting and stable.

In this new situation, to lead and shape the future bilateral relations is especially important. Through direct face to face communication and dialogue, the two heads of state will jointly plan roadmap for China-U.S. relations, set the tone for the future development of bilateral relations, and its significance will be clearer to the world over time.

Will the 21st century be the century of cooperation and win-win, or a zero-sum century which only allow I win and you lose? The answer to a large extent depends on the trend of China-U.S. relations. Will it be cooperation or confrontation? In view of this, China advocates the establishment of new relations among major powers and gets a positive response from the U.S., indicating that both countries are aware of their historical responsibility.

On March 14, President Xi Jinping talked with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama over the phone on the expansion of cooperation and mutual respect between China and the U.S.

Xi said China and the U.S. have enormous common interests, but also differences. China firmly maintains and promotes the development of China-U.S. relations, and would like to work with the U.S. in enhancing mutual trust, expanding cooperation, handling differences, and maintaining high-level contacts, Xi said.

Obama said the U.S. side is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China through mechanisms such as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to accommodate each other’s concerns and to promote economic and trade relations. The U.S. is willing to strengthen cooperation with China to ensure security, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

Such strategic consensus will translate into momentum for China and the U.S. to jointly plan for the future.

President Xi Jinping will arrive in California at the end of his Latin American trip, while President Obama is to fly to the West Coast from the East Coast. The two parties choose to meet at an intermediate point. This arrangement is quite interesting and has important symbolic significance. That is to say, the two sides have to meet each other halfway so that they will not miss each other.

Source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition

Read the Chinese version:中美相向而行,才不会错过对方

Author:Ruan Zongze is the deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies