Xi-Obama summits set outstanding example for managing great-power rivalry

The fruitful third major summit between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama is garnering no less attention than the two previous ones for its unique style, especially its remarkable problem-solving capability.

This is evident in the long list of 49 tangible results achieved by the two sides during Xi's first state visit to the United States that started on Tuesday and culminated in a grand formal welcome ceremony in the White House Friday with 21-gun salutes, followed by limited and expanded talks.

All stakeholders in the China-U.S. relationship can be assured that the two sides have genuinely started taking concrete steps to tackle some of the hot-button issues that have recently strained their ties, such as cyber security and South China Sea.

To be more specific, the two countries agreed to set up a high-level dialogue mechanism on fighting cyber crimes, expand people-to-people exchanges and partner with each other on assisting global development. They also renewed their determination to work together to advance the talks for a binding deal at the Paris UN Climate Change Conference at the end of the year.

It is fair to say that by reaching a series of agreements and consensuses on boosting cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, the third Xi-Obama summit, deemed as "extremely productive," has generated new optimism about the future of the China-U.S. relations.

These achievements demonstrate once again that coordination and cooperation continue to prevail in the China-U.S. ties, from which not only the two peoples, but the world as a whole will benefit.

The world owes a lot to the visions, wisdom and farsightedness of the leaders of the two great powers, who are committed to jointly tackle major challenges so as to preserve regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.

At the welcoming banquet in Seattle on Tuesday, Xi told the audience that if China and the United States cooperate well, "they can become a bedrock of global stability and a booster of world peace."

He was echoed by Obama, who told the joint news conference at the White House on Friday that "when the United States and China work together, it makes our nations and the world more prosperous and more secure."

Indeed, personal interactions and unscripted candid talks, which characterize the three major Xi-Obama summits, are more efficient than usual formalized talks in deepening mutual understanding and making important deals.

As a casual part of Xi's first state visit to the United States, the two presidents took a walk without wearing ties Thursday evening before heading into a private dinner hosted by Obama. Once again, they exchanged views in a relaxed manner on a wide range of issues top on their own agenda.

Since their first informal summit at the Sunnylands estate in California in June 2013, Xi and Obama have built a unique personal relationship featuring sincerity, pragmatism and flexibility.

Last November, they caught the world's attention again by taking a night stroll together at the Yingtai, an ancient imperial palace within the Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing that houses the top Chinese leadership.

The first two summits yielded breakthroughs that had worldwide implications. At the Sunnylands, they reached a historic consensus on building a new model of major-country relationship featuring no conflict and no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. After the Yingtai talks, they issued the widely applauded Joint Statement on Climate Change, in which the two vowed to cooperate closely to tackle climate change.

The latest Xi-Obama summit is also expected to soothe the worry about a potentially damaging China-U.S. rivalry and assure the world, especially the Asia-Pacific region, that China and the United States remain partners in safeguarding peace, stability and prosperity in the world.

The secret of the success of the Xi-Obama summits largely lies in their common acknowledgement of the importance of avoiding the zero-sum game of great-power rivalry, and shared desire to promote mutual understanding and trust through annual high-level dialogues, enhanced trade and people-to-people exchanges, and constructive management of differences.

In this sense, the Xi-Obama summits have set an outstanding example in international diplomacy for managing great-power rivalry in a subtle but creative way.

Still, it is too naive to imagine that China and the United States, which differ sharply in their history, political system and national interests, can agree on anything from now. The resolution of their differences requires both sides to exercise patience, persistence and good faith.

Source: Xinhua