Yearender: Top-level diplomacy navigates sound, constructive China-U.S. ties

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-30 11:39:48|Editor: Liu
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- With three formal face-to-face meetings and nine phone calls, the top leaders of China and the United States have maintained close communication this year, navigating the future development of bilateral relationship.

Experts say that top-level diplomacy is vital to the sound growth of China-U.S. relations. Continuous in-depth communication between the leaders could prevent misunderstanding, build trust, manage differences and increase cooperation, which will benefit the two countries and the world at large.


In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, met at Mar-a-Lago resort in the U.S. state of Florida, the first such meeting since Trump took office in January.

Without the formality usually seen during state visits, the two leaders spent more than seven hours together in two days, discussing issues of importance and charting the course for one of the world's most crucial bilateral ties.

As Xi said, there are "a thousand reasons to make the China-U.S. relationship work, and no reason to break it."

"They are the [world's] two leading nations and it is crucial that there are open communications so there are no misunderstandings," said Darrell West, director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

During the Mar-a-Lago meeting, four high-level dialogue mechanisms, designed to increase China-U.S. contact and cooperation, were initiated, covering key areas of diplomacy and security, economy, law enforcement and cyber security, as well as social and people-to-people exchanges.

The mechanisms have provided opportunities for Chinese and U.S. officials to talk about significant issues ranging from peace and stability in the South China Sea and military-to-military exchanges, to innovation cooperation and cyber crime.

Compared with previous communication mechanisms, the four dialogues are more outcome-oriented, emphasizing key areas of mutual concerns, Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua.

Though advocating "America First" after taking office, Trump has recognized that the United States needs cooperation with other countries in international affairs, "especially with China," said Li.


In July, Xi and Trump met in Hamburg, Germany, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit, discussing deepening cooperation based on mutual benefit.

In their talks, the two sides agreed to well manage their differences. They also exchanged views on major hot-spot issues such as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, affirming a peaceful solution to it.

Xi told Trump that stronger China-U.S. ties are conducive to stability and prosperity, and serve the interests of both peoples and the international community in a complex world where various conflicts emerge.

Noting that the 100-day action plan initiated after the two presidents' meeting at Mar-a-Largo has achieved new progress, Xi said the two sides were discussing a one-year cooperation plan.

The Chinese president also urged joint efforts with Trump to keep bilateral ties on track and coordinate on international affairs.

"The results so far in the 100-day program to improve trade and investment appear to have been more constructive than many critics argued," said Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Jia Xiudong with the China Institute of International Studies said that China-U.S. ties are crucial to the new type of international relations and efforts to build a community of a shared future for humanity.

The dialogues between the largest developing country and the largest developed country are important, said Joseph Nye, professor at Harvard University, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"I think the dialogues are important and we do need to have talks," said Nye. "I think the more the Chinese and Americans have contact with each other and understand each other, the less likely they are to have worst case analysis of the other."


On Nov. 8, Trump started his first state visit to China. He was also the first head of state to visit China after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing in October.

Trump was offered a "state visit plus" experience in China.

During his stay, the two leaders spent more than 10 hours together, comparing notes on a wide array of issues of common concern. Extensive consensus was reached and their personal rapport strengthened.

The two countries signed business deals worth 250 billion dollars, showing goodwill and also confidence in future economic cooperation.

William Jones, the Washington Bureau chief for Executive Intelligence Review news magazine, stressed the historical importance of the Xi-Trump meeting.

"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 the community of shared interests that President Xi has spoken so much about," said Jones. "The U.S.-China relations are definitely on an upward trajectory."

"The significant political achievement of the Xi-Trump summit is that the two sides agreed that a better future would only be achieved through win-win cooperation, setting the tone for the future development of China-U.S. relations," said Cui Liru, former president of the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

"A stable and developing China-U.S. relationship not only benefits both peoples, but also meets the expectations of the international community," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang.