Xi-Obama summit hailed as big success in addressing differences, deepening cooperation

The just-concluded summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpartBarack Obama is hailed as a big success in managing the differences between the two powers, reducing tensions and deepening cooperation on major issues.

The Xi-Obama summit Friday concluded the four-day first state visit to the United States by Xi, who first visited the western coastal city Seattle before heading to Washington D.C. Thursday. The visit is "extremely productive," as described by Obama at the joint news conference after his meeting with Xi at the White House.

A list of 49 tangible outcomes from Xi's visit was issued after the summit, which include agreements and consensuses on a number of bilateral, regional and global issues, including cyber security, climate change, counter terrorism, International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform, and global development assistance.

The two sides agreed that they "should remain committed to maintaining a strong China-U.S. relationship to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the world and the region," said the joint statement in issuing the list of the outcomes.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continuing the endeavor to build a new model of major-country relationship, to expand joint efforts on combating climate change to seek a binding deal at the Paris UN Climate Change Conference in December, and to partner with each other in helping poor countries to fight poverty.

The Xi-Obama meetings "have been successful in candidly discussing differences between the two countries and finding areas of common interest where the two countries can cooperate," said Vikram Nehru, senior associate of Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Noting that they represent the two largest economies on this planet with fundamentally different political and economic systems, Nehru said that even baby steps forward on critical issues can make a significant difference to the world.

Experts say Xi's visit has defused recent tensions as he discussed with Obama at length some of the top U.S. concerns, including cyber security, maritime disputes, climate change and human rights.

Most experts named the joint presidential announcement on climate change as a major achievement of Xi's visit. The two largest emitters renewed commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as China planned to launch a nationwide emissions trading system in 2017, on which China has been working for about 20 years with some U.S. partners. China will also provide 3 billion U.S. dollars to help other developing countries deal with climate change.

The announcement "represents a significant step forward in U.S.-China leadership and cooperation on climate change," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday in a statement, calling climate change as "a defining challenge of our time."

Rick Larsen, a House Representative and co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group in U.S. Congress, praised the announcement as "a critical precursor to a successful UN climate agreement in Paris in December."

"Working together to fight a defining challenge facing our world could be one of the most substantial environmental achievements in world history," Larsen said in a statement Friday.

Nehru said China's steps will hopefully not just promote China-U.S. cooperation on climate change, but will spur the U.S. to follow China's lead and introduce a systematic nationwide framework to arrive at a market-based carbon price that will help it achieve its emission targets.

The two sides also agreed to set up a high-level dialogue mechanism on fighting cyber theft, and vowed not to be engaged in so-called state-sponsored cyber theft of intellectual property for commercial advantage.

"The fact that Presidents Xi and Obama have agreed to work together on this is a significant outcome of their summit. It gives this subject a high priority on both nations' agendas at home and internationally," Robert Hormats, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment and now vice chairman of consulting firm Kissinger Associates, told Xinhua.

Micheal O'hanlon, director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution, said that though he remained "a bit dubious," he thought that the consensus on fighting cyber crimes was a potentially "path-breaking agreement."

If both countries can translate this into concrete cooperation, it could become the template for a global system to tackle this growing global challenge, Nehru said.

On another hot issue, the U.S. and China support the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea, and a peaceful solution to territorial disputes among directly concerned parties through negotiations and consultations.

On economic issues, the two sides agreed to vigorously push forward negotiations and accelerate works for achieving a high-standard, mutually beneficial and win-win bilateral investment treaty (BIT), and agreed to facilitate renminbi trading and clearing in the U.S.

John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), welcomed the "sufficient progress" on the BIT talks, adding that the business community fully supports conclusion of such a high-standard treaty.

Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former New York City mayor, said Friday in a statement that he wanted to "congratulate President Obama and President Xi for a number of economic steps, but in particular advancing a mechanism to trade the Chinese currency in the United States."

"Doing this will be a very powerful move toward improving bilateral relations, promoting trade between our countries, improving the competitiveness of U.S. companies, and furthering America's financial sector," Bloomberg said, adding that "there's still a lot more to do, but this is a great first step."

Frisbie applauded Xi's visit to the U.S. for sending out "a clear message of seeking greater cooperation, building trust, and addressing differences."

"USCBC hopes this visit will be a catalyst to improved relations and concrete actions to implement the commitments in the months ahead," he added.

Source: Xinhua