China-US relations: Promoting mutual benefit#China Newsweek#-Sino-US

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China-US relations: Promoting mutual benefit#China Newsweek#

The relationship between China and the US, the two largest countries in the world, is believed to be one of the most important bilateral relations and to play a significant role on the world political and economic stage in the 21st century.

While there are lots of common interests between the two countries, socially and economically, differences in ideology, history and culture are big challenges for the stability of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The first meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the US President Donald Trump, which closed on April 7, sent a clear message to the world that the two largest economies will have a cooperative relationship despite differences.

As this year marks the 45th year of the normalization of China-US relations, the China Newsweek ran a cover story on the first meeting between leaders of China and the US in its 14th issue of 2017, discussing development of future relationship between the two countries.

Below is an excerpt.

A unique meeting

While the first face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart President Donald Trump only lasted about 24 hours, the two discussed many issues of common concern from currency to trade to North Korea.

As the meeting was set at the latter’s Mar-a-Lago estate instead of the White House, the agenda not only included cabinet officials’ meeting, but also family meetings, casual walks and private talks between the two leaders.

According to some experts, a meeting between state heads at one’s home or manor is different from an official state visit, as the former could let the leaders get to know each other better and establish a personal relationship.

“A ‘Manor Diplomacy’ is not just about chatting, walking and dining. What’s more important is that leaders can have more candid talks on issues of common concern in a relaxed way,” said Su Ge, head of the China Institute of International Studies.

According to Matthew Pottinger, the top White House Asia expert, inviting Xi to Mar-a-Lago was Trump’s personal idea as the latter thought they could get familiar with each other at the “Winter White House.”

Shortly after Xi and Peng Liyuan’s arrival at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s granddaughter accompanied by her little brother sang the traditional Chinese song, Jasmine Flower, and recited a Chinese poem to the couple.

Ivanka Trump tweeted the short video later saying, “Very proud of Arabella and Joseph for their performance in honor of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan's official visit to the US!”

President Xi also gifted Trump a Chinese calligraphy which reads, “A nine-story terrace rises from a heap of earth; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, a famous proverb by a Chinese ancient philosopher Laozi.

During the banquet, Xi said he is willing to work with President Trump to lead those who have good expectations and enthusiasm for making the China-US relationship more solid, higher and more beautiful.

Regarding the meeting with Xi, Trump said “tremendous progress” was made and an “outstanding” relationship was developed between him and Xi.

An interesting detail during the meeting was that right after President Xi’s comment on the meeting that they had “engaged in deeper understanding”, “built a trust” and “will keep developing in a stable way to form friendly relations … for the peace and stability of the world,” Trump replied, “I agree with you 100 percent,” before Xi’s comments were interpreted into English.

“The first meeting between the two leaders was very successful. They not only discussed specific issues, but also talked about philosophy, shared their views on the world and methodology. This is what should be called a dialogue of highest level,” remarked Zheng Yongnian, research director of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG).

China needs strategic concentration and patience

According to Su, the first meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest countries only two months after the new administration ran the Oval Office shows the significance of the China-US relationship.

He said the healthy and stable development of the China-US relationship not only concerns the benefits of the two countries, but will also influence regional and global development.

Luckily, the first meeting between the two has a lot of positive interactions and sent an optimistic tone for the future China-US relationship, he said.

Su noted that with an increase in China’s national power and its multidimensional diplomacy, China will gradually have more influence on the US.

“In the meantime, China should have its own strategic concentration and patience,” he added.

As of September 2015, China and the US have established nearly 100 dialogue mechanisms in various aspects, and the first meeting between the two leaders has put forward another several high level dialogue mechanisms concerning diplomacy, economy, law enforcement, cyber security, social, and people to people exchange.

According to Su, while the dialogue mechanisms concerning diplomacy and economy have been started, the two presidents have agreed on the start of the other mechanisms as soon as possible.

“The new mechanisms cover almost every aspect in China-US communication, and have laid a good foundation for the healthy and stable development for the China-US relationship,” he said. “The new high level dialogue mechanisms provide important platforms for future China-US relationship, and communications concerning specific aspects in the two countries’ relationship will be conducted under the new platforms.”

With regard to trade relationship, Su said there is still huge potential and possibility for larger cooperation between the two countries to establish win-win cooperation.

“Trump’s policy is now focusing on infrastructure construction and America’s trade deficit,” he said, “China has accumulated lots of experience in infrastructure construction and have many successful enterprises. Meanwhile, China is America’s largest creditor country. If China and the US can make breakthroughs in the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), it would guarantee the stability of capital flow between the two countries, and can help America improve its balance sheet.”

“Nothing could possibly be realized without China-US cooperation, but cooperation can make a lot of things happen,” noted Zheng.

Seeking common good

Many experts believe that the China-US relationship has entered a new stage, after going through confrontation, friction and increasing interdependence since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1972. But whether China could work well with the Trump administration also has to do with China’s understanding of Trump, according to Zheng.

“China should have the willingness to know about Trump. Many people have somehow been largely affected by America’s mainstream media who tend to regard Trump as a crazy man, but in fact he has his own ideas and views on the world. He is a successful business person, a very reasonable person,” he said. “Many people do not want to know more about Trump, but it is an important precondition for China to develop a good relationship with the US.”

Besides, according to Su, what’s also important for the future relationship between China and the US is that the two countries should see each other’s strategic intentions objectively and rationally, and respect each other’s core interests, instead of imposing their own will on the other.

It is the foundation for the China-US relationship which should not be shaken because of “a certain thing at a certain moment.”

“Since China and the US have different national conditions, what’s important is to look at long term and mutual interests of the two countries … Cooperation will benefit all parties, but a war will damage all,” he said.

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