G20 seen as boost for bi­lat­eral ties

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The up­com­ing sum­mit be­tween Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his US coun­ter­part Barack Obama is ex­pected to in­ject strong mo­men­tum into the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship, ac­cord­ing to China’s top diplo­mat in Wash­ing­ton.

The White House an­nounced on Aug 18 that Obama will at­tend his fi­nal G20 sum­mit in Hangzhou (Sept 4-5) and also will con­duct in­depth meet­ings with Xi cov­er­ing a wide range of global, re­gional and bi­lat­eral is­sues.

Cui Tiankai, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to the United States, said on Aug 20 that the two lead­ers have held sev­eral strate­gic sum­mits in past years and each has pro­duced a pos­i­tive and im­por­tant im­pact.

“The sum­mits have pro­vided very pow­er­ful guid­ance in de­vel­op­ing the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries, ex­pand­ing co­op­er­a­tion and man­ag­ing their dif­fer­ences,” Cui told the me­dia. “I be­lieve it will be the same this time.”

He noted that Hangzhou, the venue for the up­com­ing sum­mit, is spe­cial be­cause it was the city where the his­toric Shang­hai Com­mu­nique was pro­duced four decades ago.

The com­mu­nique, officially signed in Shang­hai dur­ing Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s his­toric trip to China in Fe­bru­ary 1972, set the course for the nor­mal­iza­tion of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Cui Tiankai

coun­tries. But much of the in­tense dis­cus­sion for the doc­u­ment took place in scenic Hangzhou, about 110 miles from Shang­hai.

Cui be­lieves that the past pre­dicts the fu­ture. He said the last 40 years have shown that China and the US should con­tinue to co­op­er­ate to build the part­ner­ship.

“It is what we of­ten re­fer to as build­ing a new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

The new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship was pro­posed by Xi in Fe­bru­ary 2012, when he toured the US as China’s vice-pres­i­dent.

Cui said China and the US have had much co­or­di­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion since the G20 mech­a­nism was es­tab­lished and have had good com­mu­ni­ca­tions this time.

“I think the world ex­pects China and the US to con­tinue to play a lead­er­ship and con­struc­tive role this year to make the G20 sum­mit a com­plete suc­cess,” he said.

It is what we of­ten re­fer to as build­ing a new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship.”

Ex­perts said that dis­agree­ments will re­main be­tween China and the United States on key is­sues, such as the South China Sea and the planned de­ploy­ment of the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense anti-mis­sile sys­tem in the Repub­lic of Korea, but the two lead­ers will likely strive to reach a con­sen­sus.

Tao Wen­zhao, a re­searcher in Sino-US re­la­tions at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said the talks be­tween Xi and Obama will be “of great im­por­tance” to bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. How­ever, the re­la­tion­ship will con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence “ups and downs” with un­re­solved dis­putes on is­sues in­clud­ing the South China Sea and THAAD, he said.

“It will be the ‘new nor­mal’ (a term usu­ally used to de­scribe China’s on­go­ing eco­nomic struc­tural ad­just­ment) of the Sino-US re­la­tion­ship, with fluc­tu­a­tions from time to time,” he said, adding that such ups and downs are likely to con­tinue with the next pres­i­dent.

Zuo Xiy­ing, a re­searcher of US for­eign pol­icy at Ren­min Uni­ver­sity, said the pos­si­bil­ity could not be ruled out that Obama might “point fin­gers at China” on the South China Sea is­sue dur­ing mul­ti­lat­eral meet­ings in Laos.

“China will def­i­nitely not ac­cept ac­cu­sa­tions by the US,” he said.

Obama’s visit to Laos af­ter the sum­mit, the first visit to the coun­try by a US pres­i­dent, will send a sig­nal to South­east Asian coun­tries that the US will main­tain its pres­ence in the re­gion, he added.

An Bai­jie in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

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