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No fast results expected from Xi-Obama summit(2)

2013-05-24 09:15 China Daily     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

"We are confident this meeting will be the first step, or the beginning of more meetings like this in the future, between our heads of state and between our two governments," the diplomat said.

He said Xi and Obama are determined that China and the US work together to build a new type of big-power relationship, as the Chinese president has alluded to.

"This is indeed a new effort by both of our nations to try to open up a new chapter in international relations," Cui said.

Top officials in each country have talked about avoiding a replay of a historical narrative in which existing and emerging powers inevitably become rivals and go to war.

The increasingly interdependent relationship between China and the US is also marked by a lack of trust. Many Chinese believe the US strategic rebalancing, or "pivot", toward Asia is aimed at containing China. Many in the US also see a rising China as a challenge or threat. The US has often accused China of unfair trade practices and the Chinese government of orchestrating cyberattacks against US companies, which Beijingdenies.

Richard Bush, director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, wrote on the think tank's website that the purpose of the Xi-Obama meeting isn't to bargain or solve problems, "but to set a tone and create a sense of shared fate" between the two men. This, Bush said, will follow from the leaders establishing a good personal relationship, "a precondition for the successful conduct of their bilateral relations".

Although the two met in February 2012 when Xi visited the US as China's vice-president, the two days in Southern California will give them more time and an informal environment in which to discuss their respective domestic challenges, visions for the future, the two countries' international roles and how US-China relations fit with all of those, Bush said.

The Brookings scholar believes such an exchange is especially important because each president sits atop a complex, massive bureaucracy that is hard to monitor or control.

"This is one of the reasons for recent frictions between the two countries," Bush said, without elaborating. "Their California encounter provides Xi and Obama the opportunity to identify and enlarge the areas of overlap in the interests of their two countries, and then, when they return to their capitals, to set priorities in their systems accordingly.

"Having seen the value of creating this opportunity, they should seize it," he said.

The Sunnylands summit will come a month before US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew meet their Chinese counterparts in Washington for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue meeting.

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