President Xi Jinping addresses the 30th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held at Moscone Center in San Francisco, the United States, Nov 17, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)
Senior official, analysts anticipate fresh impetus for Asia-Pacific cooperation
President Xi Jinping's four-day trip to San Francisco in the United States has steadied the course for ties between the world's two largest economies and injected fresh impetus into cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, a senior official and analysts said.
Xi attended over 10 bilateral and multilateral events, including a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden that spanned over four hours, and a banquet with U.S. business executives and citizens committed to promoting bilateral friendship, during which he received a standing ovation several times.
The China-U.S. summit, a major event in international relations, is capable of steering Sino-U.S. ties toward "a healthy, stable and sustainable direction", said Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and foreign minister, in a media briefing.
The Xi-Biden meeting in Filoli, a historic estate south of San Francisco, showcased the positive intentions of both sides and achieved significant outcomes, and it holds extraordinary significance, Wang said, adding that the summit will "play a crucial role in guiding the fluctuating course of China-U.S. relations".
Key outcomes of the summit include agreements to step up counternarcotics cooperation, jointly tackle the climate crisis, resume high-level military-to-military communication and expand educational, student, youth, cultural, sports and business exchanges.
Xi also laid out the five pillars of China-U.S. relations, urging both sides to develop a right perception of each other, effectively manage their differences, jointly advance mutually beneficial cooperation, shoulder responsibilities together as major countries and forge stronger people-to-people exchanges.
These five pillars have opened up a vision for the future of China-U.S. relations, Wang said.
Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, said the pillars will be useful in shaping U.S.-China relations. "The five pillars guide how the two countries can move for-ward. … It becomes easier to grasp and then move forward on that basis and have actual results," he said.
"The two countries can move together in the same direction. They can basically row together on the basis of common elements in their relationship, where they can then work under these various pillars," Gupta added.
Biden called the meetings in Filoli among the "most constructive and productive discussions" the two leaders have had.
However, Wang pointed out that the key to consolidating the positive momentum in China-U.S. relations lies in whether Washington can honor its commitments and meet Beijing halfway in realizing the key consensuses reached by the leaders.
"San Francisco should not be the terminus, but a new starting point," Wang said, adding that both sides should set out from San Francisco to keep improving and developing bilateral ties, in alignment with the interests and aspirations of the people of both countries as well as expectations of the world.
Some analysts highlighted the significance of Xi's speech at the welcoming dinner hosted by friendly organizations in the U.S., in which he underlined the significance of people-to-people exchanges between the two nations.
Gupta, from the Washington institute, said it was "very politically wise" that Xi chose to use the occasion to speak to the "much larger American public" than just business leaders. "At the mass level, there is a need to reach out and restart those people-to-people ties."
Gupta said he thinks that Xi "deliberately chose not to speak to the elites, but … speak to all the American people and make the case directly that people-to-people (exchange) is what sustained China ties before and… will sustain China ties going forward".
Wang said the warm interactions between Xi and representatives from various U.S. sectors "made us feel keenly that the foundation of China-U.S. friendship is still intact, the impetus for engagement persists and the prospects for cooperation are promising".
The speech will undoubtedly inspire the people of both countries to more actively engage in the cause of bilateral friendship, accumulating more positive energy for the stable and healthy development of China-U.S. relations, he said.
Xi also put forward major proposals as he joined the economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum for a two-day meeting, during which a leaders' declaration was issued. The declaration reaffirmed the APEC mission to build an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, and to advance economic integration in the region.
In his addresses to the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Xi highlighted the need to reject any attempt to politicize, weaponize or impose security implications on economic and trade issues, while pledging unwavering efforts to promote regional economic integration and accelerate the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
Zhu Feng, dean of the School of International Studies at Nanjing University, said that Beijing's renewed commitment to promoting the building of an Asia-Pacific community will inject fresh impetus for cooperation in the region, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the global population and nearly 50 percent of global trade.
Xi's speech not only served as a timely wake-up call for APEC members against acts that sow discord and allow geopolitical alliances to form in the region, but it also provided a direction for the region's future development in alignment with the shared interests of countries in the region, Zhu said.