Xi, Obama's meeting to further define ties

Updated: 2013-05-24 15:28


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BEIJING - Chinese experts said the upcoming summit between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama will clarify bilateral relations in a broad sense.

The Foreign Ministry announced earlier this week that the two leaders will meet from June 7 to 8 in California's Sunnylands following Xi's visit to three Latin American states. It will be their first meeting since Xi took office in March.

Differing from previous meetings between the two countries' leaders, the upcoming summit will take place at the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate, a desert retreat known as the "West Coast's Camp David."

Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University, said the informal arrangement will create a more relaxed atmosphere that will allow for more in-depth exchanges.

"If both sides feel distant, they will pay more attention to the form of the exchange, but if they are familiar, they can focus more on efficiency," added Jin.

Tao Wenzhao, a fellow at the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said smaller meetings typically result in more substantial discussions.

US presidents have a custom of meeting leaders in informal locations, of which the most famous is Camp David, where Franklin Roosevelt discussed the Normandy campaign with Winston Churchill in 1943.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday that the summit will help strengthen strategic communication, increase mutual trust and deepen bilateral cooperation.

Tao said it is unlikely that both sides will reach agreements on specific issues, such as the ongoing tension on the Korean Peninsula and Internet security.

Both countries have a number of exchange and cooperation channels to discuss specific issues, Tao said, adding that the two leaders are more likely to focus on larger, long-term issues.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said at a recent symposium held in Washington that the meeting "may not have a long list of what we call deliverables, but it will allow our cooperation to deliver much more in the future."

"The building of mutual trust is quite important and the further clarification of strategic positioning in bilateral relations can generate ideas for solving specific issues," Jin said.

Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said the summit is "very timely" and "very much needed."

Shen Jiru, a research fellow from the CASS, said the summit will help build a new type of relationship between both sides, a topic that was mentioned in a report delivered at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November.

"In such an eased atmosphere, the two leaders can better deepen mutual understanding and manage differences," Shen added.