Xi, Obama to hold bilateral meeting during G20 summit

US President Barack Obama with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during the US president's visit to China in 2014. Photo: AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with his US counterpart Barack Obama during the G20 summit, amid tensions over cyber security, human rights and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

At a briefing, Benjamin Rhodes, assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic communication and speechwriting, said that President Obama will prioritize climate change, global economy and the pivot to the Asia Pacific region at the G20 summit.

The two presidents will hold talks over the ratification of the Paris Climate Treaty, where the establishment of a multilateral emission reduction mechanism will also be discussed, according to the Associated Press. The two leaders expect the climate change pact to take effect by the end of this year.

In terms of bilateral economic and trade ties, a White House official said that the US will continue the negotiations over the signing of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), revealing that the two sides have made progress on negotiations on exchange rate, trade and investment as well as climate change.

Rhodes said that the pivot to the Asia Pacific region is at the center of the foreign policy adopted by the Obama government. During the presidential meeting, the pair will discuss nuclear non-proliferation and how to react to North Korea's nuclear program, noted Rhodes.

As for the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, Rhodes said that the US will continue to fulfill its obligations to its ally if China fails to pressure North Korea to drop its program to develop nuclear missiles.

The highest-level meeting will be held as the strategic distrust between China and US is intensifying over the disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea, on some of which China is building civil and military facilities such as lighthouse and airstrip, which has led to the US Navy's patrols near the 12 nautical miles of islands claimed by China.

On Wednesday, at separate meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Xi called for deepened cooperation with the two countries to bring the G20 into full play.

The White House official disclosed that Obama and Xi will meet on Saturday afternoon, which is seen as the last such meeting between the two leaders in President Obama's tenure that will end next year.

Media reports said that Obama expects to use this Asian trip to strengthen his efforts to increase the US clout in the Asia Pacific region, where China has enhanced political and economic presence.

In an article published in Reference News, a Party-owned newspaper, Fu Ying, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, highlighted the cooperation between China and the US in reforming the global governance system which is currently dominated by the Western countries.

She further pointed out that the reform of the global governance system depends on whether the two countries could send an obvious signal to jointly promote the growth of the world economy and whether they could manage and control their disagreements.

China's former deputy foreign minister He Yafei wrote in a comment published on the sino-us.com that the world needs to find new impetus to improve global governance, as the rise of China and other developing countries is changing the global political and economic structure.

In the article, he attached great importance to the common development which could direct globalization on the right course, in which developing countries including China would have more say in making international economic rules.


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