Ready to open a new chapter

Updated: 2013-06-10 01:05

By CHEN JIA in RANCHO MIRAGE, California, ZHANG YUWEI in NEW YORK and ZHAO SHENGNAN in Beijing (China Daily)

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Ready to open a new chapter

President Xi Jinping, left, and his US counterpart Barack Obama walk at the Annenberg Retreat of the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, California, on Saturday. Xi returned to Beijing on Sunday evening after visiting Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico, and meeting Obama. Rao Aimin / Xinhua

Summit impacts development of China-US relationship

The just-concluded two-day summit between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama will have an important and positive impact on the future growth of China-US relations as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, said a senior Chinese government official on Saturday.

Ready to open a new chapter

Yang Jiechi, China's State Councilor and former foreign minister, told reporters that the two leaders, who spent about eight hours talking on a host of issues, pursued an "in-depth and candid dialogue".

"Unprecedented in terms of length, quality, depth and breadth, their interactions and exchanges reflected the high importance both sides attach to China-US relations. They responded to the need of growing China-US relations in the new era and demonstrated the strategic importance and global influence of this bilateral relationship," said Yang.

During their meetings, both presidents agreed that the two countries are ready to open a new chapter in trans-Pacific cooperation between China and the US, and emphasized the importance of improving and developing military-to-military relations.

China's navy will join a US-led joint exercise for the first time next summer, which US officials hope will help build confidence between the two navies at a time when both are boosting their military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, northeast Asia project director and China adviser for International Crisis Group, described China's participation in the world's largest naval exercises as "good news", since strengthened communication could help reduce the risks of maritime conflicts.

Yang said the two presidents share the view that China and the US have more "shared interests and close interactions in the Asia-Pacific than anyone else in the world and that the two countries have more common interests than differences in this region".

Zhou Wenzhong, former Chinese ambassador to the US, said it is urgent for Beijing and Washington to explore more shared interests as a foundation for mutual trust in the next several years, since they may see increasing competition in the economy and regional affairs.

They agreed to enhance cooperation on climate change and establish a working group on cybersecurity that will meet for the first time in July and have regular talks on the issue.

Zhu Zhiqun, a political science professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and author of US-China Relations in the 21st Century, said most Western media played up the cybersecurity issue before the summit "without a proper understanding of the complex relationship between the two great powers".

"Cybersecurity is hardly a major issue between the two countries," said Zhu. "It is encouraging that the two leaders agreed to establish a joint working group to lay out basic cyber protocol and tackle the challenge together."

Pieter Bottelier, a professor of China Studies at the School of Advanced and International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, believes the summit was held when the world's two superpowers should and need to enhance understanding and trust.

"At the root of the negative slide in bilateral relations in recent years lies mutual mistrust," said Bottelier.

Zhu called the summit a success but cautioned that the China-US relationship will continue to be marked by competition and cooperation.

"The real challenge is how to turn healthy competition into opportunities for both countries and how to promote cooperation in all aspects of the relationship, especially in military and security spheres," said Zhu.