California summit gives momentum for bilateral ties

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-29 10:10
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Jeffrey Greene (right), chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, and Flying Tigers veterans and descendants visit a war museum in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Nov 4. LU BOAN/XINHUA

China-US relations take positive turn amid heightened tensions in 2023

The year 2023 was not lacking in controversies and distrust between China and the US, but however eventful, it ended up with a highlight of the bilateral relationship — the Nov 15 summit between the two heads of state in California.

That the meeting even happened was an achievement, given that the year began with tensions running high following the widely reported "balloon incident" in the United States in February, in which the US military shot down a Chinese civilian airship that had drifted into US airspace.

Months later, on June 29, the Pentagon said the balloon did not collect intelligence while flying over the country.

A month before the California summit, the administration of US President Joe Biden escalated its chip war by imposing new restrictions on exports of advanced computing semiconductors.

In the same month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer led a bipartisan Senate delegation to China, the first visit to the country by US lawmakers since 2019.

Before Schumer's visit, four top officials from Biden's administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, had traveled to China since June.

In September, Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng visited the US to attend the United Nations General Assembly and had bilateral discussions with the US side, followed by Foreign Minister Wang Yi's trip to the US, the first time a top Chinese diplomat visited Washington in seven years.

As a result, the two sides launched a series of dialogue mechanisms, including the rolling out of the Economic and Financial Working Groups, and held consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs, maritime affairs, arms control and nonproliferation, and foreign policies.

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