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China, US hope to foster trust with upcoming state visit

Updated: 2015-02-20 12:12
By Pu Zhendong (China Daily)

Beijing and Washington aim to build trust, manage divergence and cement "the new normal" of bilateral ties this year, that will culminate in September with the first state visit to the United States by Chinese President Xi Jinping, since he took office in 2013.

Xi accepted the invitation extended by US President Barack Obama last week during a telephone conversation. Both sides agreed to make full preparation for the visit, during which Xi will also attend activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

Chinese analysts said announcement of the visit at such an early time heralds both countries' determination to make substantive progress this year following the candid spirit evidenced in the two heads of states' previous meetings in Beijing and Annenberg, California.

Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said face-to-face communication between the two presidents is conducive to steering China-US relations toward a smooth transition while the 2016 US presidential election draws near.

"The US political climate before the election year is usually quite diverse and sensitive. The visit eyes to guarantee steady transfer of bilateral cooperative dynamic to the new administration," Ruan said.

In the telephone call, Xi urged the US to pay attention to China's concerns on Taiwan and Tibet-related issues so as to prevent bilateral relations from being disturbed unnecessarily.

Da Wei, a researcher of US studies with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said: "The state visit will also help Beijing and Washington control and manage differences on sensitive issues, such as disputes in the South China Sea and cyber-security."

"Learning to prevent tensions from spiraling into a crisis or conflict help clear obstacles for the healthy development of bilateral relations," Da said.

Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution, said he is "cautiously optimistic" about development of bilateral relations this year, considering the two countries overcome a dismal start last year and successfully harnessed the relationship back on track.

"The issues will not go away, but the wisdom of leaders, the growing interaction among nations will help make the views more mature, and leaders will get a better understanding of the framework of China-US relations," he told China Daily in a recent interview.

For the past month, a series of high-level US diplomats including Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, have visited Beijing, and coordinated stance with Chinese counterparts on regional and international affairs such as the Iran nuclear issue, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and multilateral arms control.

Observers said China-US relations marked a solid start this year, as both sides are busy with mapping out an agenda that advances cooperation and exchanges.

The US will host this year's Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in the hope of achieving as many positive results.

New bilateral breakthroughs are expected to emerge in the negotiation of a bilateral investment treaty, construction of the military mutual trust mechanism and anti-corruption. Beijing will also work closely with Washington on international events such as the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory against fascism and climate change.

Teng Jianqun, a senior researcher of US studies from the China Institute of International Studies, said: "China's cooperation with the US at this stage has been lifted to an unprecedented level, but controversies have become more frequent as well."

"China and the US now foster a 'dynamic balance' of cooperation and competition, which calls for more strategic wisdom from leaders of both countries, not to be blinded by a moment of tension and ignore the whole picture," he added.

Earlier this month, the White House issued the newest version of its National Security Strategy, which reaffirmed its commitment to develop a "constructive relationship" with China and "reject the inevitability of confrontation" in spite of competition.

Xinhua and Chen Weihua in Washington contributed to the story

puzhendong@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

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