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Summit charts clear course for China-US ties

By XU WEIWEI in Hong Kong, XING YI and ZHENG WANYIN in London | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-18 09:13

Optimism seen by experts as Xi, Biden exchange views at critical juncture

The summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in San Francisco has been hailed as positive and successful, paving the way for practical bilateral exchanges and benefits for the two peoples and the world.

In a candid and in-depth exchange of views on Wednesday, the two heads of state reached agreements on strategic and overarching issues critical to the direction of relations between China and the United States.

"My view is that the meeting between presidents Xi and Biden was fairly successful," Colin Mackerras, a sinologist and emeritus professor at Griffith University in Australia, said.

He pointed to well-grounded reasons for optimism of the leaders' first face-to-face talks in a year.

First, Mackerras said it is good to hold such a meeting at all. Second, the atmosphere, from what he saw, was friendly and positive. Third, the content was quite positive. And fourth, there were some agreements and practical actions from the meeting, such as on the environment and cultural exchange.

Mackerras said Xi was quite right in his remarks that the world is big enough for two countries to succeed, hence any "competition should be manageable and not aimed at blocking China's rise".

He added that the meeting has contributed to an improved relationship and it gave him hope for more progress in the coming months.

The two presidents put forward guiding principles on the most prominent issues between the two sides, such as properly managing differences and strengthening dialogue and cooperation.

Saud Faisal Malik, editor-in-chief of the Observer Diplomat magazine in Pakistan, said both leaders are committed to the prevention of conflict, identification of common ground and the resumption of regular talks.

Though the meeting might not lead to a complete reset of US-China relations, Malik said the two presidents seized the chance "to establish the foundation for a future marked by collaboration, comprehension and mutual achievements".

He also emphasized that the general optimism surrounding these high-level discussions is indicative of a shared desire for a world in which countries cooperate for the benefit of all, regardless of differences.

Keith Bennett, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China and a London-based senior analyst on international affairs, said Xi traveled to San Francisco as a peacemaker and as a responsible statesman and visionary leader concerned not only for his country, but the world.

As Xi pointed out, conflict between these two great countries should be unthinkable and the results would be catastrophic, Bennett added.

"It is essential to stabilize the relations between the US and China, prevent further deterioration and look for ways and areas for cooperation to the mutual benefit of the two countries and all humanity," he said. "Climate change is a key example and with the Dubai summit coming up, the agreement here is very welcome."

Good sense to prevail

Bennett said a more stable and constructive relationship between Washington and Beijing can, therefore, also contribute to better relations between the United Kingdom and Europe on the one hand and China on the other.

"The UK now has a foreign secretary (David Cameron) who knows China well, so we must hope that good sense might start to prevail," Bennett said.

Xi also called on the two countries to jointly provide more public goods for the world, keep their initiatives open to each other, or coordinate and connect them for synergy, to benefit the world.

Jose Felix Valdivieso, chairman of IE China Center at IE University in Spain, said the face-to-face summit is good news for the whole world, as he believes that relations between countries are like those between people. "A smooth relationship between China and the US means a smoother relationship for the world," he said.

As for him, any meeting between these leaders is of global importance and has global repercussions."Wouldn't it be great for everyone if the two powers simply decided to resume military contact?" he said, adding that the two leaders' consensus on the resumption of military contact will be the first step on a great journey together.

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