Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) and his wife Peng Liyuan (1st R) welcome U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) and his wife Melania Trump at the Palace Museum, or the Forbidden City, in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
by Xinhua writers Zhu Dongyang, Liu Chen
WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- The high-profile engagement between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Thursday has caught the spotlight globally. Experts said their meeting has borne remarkable fruit, and the forward-looking attitude of the two heads of state towards bilateral cooperation will bring benefits to the two countries, the Asia-Pacific and the world at large.
Trump and Xi "continue to build a personal relationship that's defined by deep respect for each other, a frank, open, and productive exchange," said Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State in his press briefing later on Thursday in Beijing.
SHARED GOALS ON KOREAN PENINSULA
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula weighs most in Trump's Asia visit, said the White House before Trump arrived in Beijing.
On Thursday's meeting, the presidents stressed that the two countries share the common goal of using dialogue and negotiation to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and reiterated the commitment to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region.
Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said although it remains to be seen whether the bonhomie between Trump and Xi will produce outcomes that the United States seeks, Trump apparently hopes "to build enough good will to produce positive outcomes down the road."
Michael O'Hanlon, senior analyst from the Brookings Institution, said there's still a long way to go before solving the nuclear issue, and the two countries will have an ongoing need to keep expectations modest about progress, and perhaps develop "a more realistic negotiating strategy."
Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua that one of the most remarkable results of the meeting is that "Trump did not take us to a new level of friction, as he might have done."
Although it remains too soon to weigh in on the impact of the Xi-Trump meeting, the fact that the two top leaders seem comfortable being frank with each other is "something important to managing all sorts of differences," Paal argued.
The two heads of state reaffirmed their commitments to dialogue and peaceful settlement of regional hotspot issues, ranging from the Korean Peninsula to the South China Sea, said Xu Liping, a senior research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
"Their vows to start dialogues on maritime environmental protection and on enhancement of exchanges between the two armies are forward-looking and quite constructive," said Xu.
"The rich consensus of Xi and Trump on regional security issues serves as a stabilizer to bilateral relations, and reassures the region and the world," said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. "A steady China-U.S. relation is indeed the best and most important bonus to the world."
COMMON ASPIRATIONS ON TRADE DEVELOPMENT
In another positive outcome of the two presidents' meeting in Beijing, Chinese and U.S. companies signed deals worth more than 250 billion U.S. dollars, which included purchases of Boeing aircrafts, Ford automobiles, U.S. soybeans and joint development of liquified natural gas in Alaska.
China and the United States are highly complementary rather than competitive, said Xi when meeting with business delegates from both countries, adding that frictions are unavoidable given the rapid growth of bilateral trade. He also reaffirmed China's commitment to opening up and reform, noting China will not close its door to the world: In fact, it will only become more open.
The deals, the value of which has reached "a historic high," would help reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries, said Xu Liping from the CASS. "The amount itself is an implication of the huge potential for economic and trade collaboration between the two nations."
Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, said the gathering of Xi and Trump demonstrated that they understand the importance of a cooperative and productive relationship -- even as significant disagreements remain on areas like trade.
Across all these areas, President Trump is expected to see continued progress and deal-making between the two nations, he added.
Ruan said the lucrative deals are predictable results as the two nations have engaged in cooperation.
"Only cooperation can lead to such huge successes," he noted. "Considering the remarkable complementarity of the two economies, I am fully confident of the economic and trade development of the two countries in the days to come."
However, O'Hanlon from the Brookings Institution, said the Trump administration "has to keep his and America's expectations reasonable on the front" of the trade deficit.
"China has done remarkable things, it's a low-cost manufacturer, it deserves credit for its progress there. You're not going to eliminate the trade deficit in any way, shape or form," he explained.
BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL
William Jones, the Washington Bureau chief for Executive Intelligence Review news magazine, stressed the historical importance of the Xi-Trump meeting.
"It was of an absolutely strategic nature and the world will change as a result of it. It can only be compared to Nixon's trip to Beijing 45 years ago, but it is even more important," said Jones. "President Trump has clearly accepted China's new role in the world and is prepared to work with China on all the major issues facing the world."
"While Nixon's visit occurred in an atmosphere of 'geopolitics' and Cold War intrigues, we are now in a world which is increasingly moving towards that community of shared interests that President Xi has spoken so much about," Jones noted. "The U.S.-China relations are definitely on an upward trajectory."
To make that happen, Zhao Quansheng, professor of international relations at American University, suggested the two countries consider building a framework to strengthen bilateral ties over the next 50 years or longer.
The two countries could also lead the region towards creating an economic and trade cooperation agreement as well as a mechanism to settle Asia-Pacific issues, said Zhao. "That is a viable solution to minimize misjudgments and maximize trust and stability in the region."