Xi’s US state visit: Xi Jinping US Visit

Published: September 22, 2015

Xi’s US state visit: Xi Jinping US Visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a 4-day State visit to the United States starting on Sept. 22 and travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York to attend summits marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of UN from September 26 to 28.

The visit is crucial for China-U.S. relations with some media and scholars comparing it to the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s US visit in 1979.

Deng’s visit had occurred after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee when Beijing had expressed its determination to push forward on reforms and opening up. The visit was an amazing success that shaped the direction of China-U.S. relations.

Thirty-five years later, the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2013 has promoted a resolution for further reforms and opening up to dispel U.S. misunderstandings over Beijing’s domestic politics.

Yet, the atmosphere of bilateral relations appears to be tense.

Ever since 2015, strong voices and heated debates have been heard in the U.S. academia and strategic circle in regards to changing Washington’s strategy towards Beijing. Michael Pillsbury, David Shambaugh, Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis have been advising the U.S. government to drop the engagement strategy and to challenge China’s rise.

It’s not difficult to understand why their voices are gaining traction. There’s a narrowing power gap between China and the U.S.. Since China launched its reforms and opening up in the late l970s, the U.S. has sought to shape China’s development path by engaging it into the international system.

But to U.S. dismay, China had embarked on its own path to achieve successful development, while U.S. scholars and officials had raised concerns over China’s role in the world, arguing that Beijing was an alleged “free-rider” attempting to change the existing international regime.

Additionally, the U.S. is now entering another presidential election cycle. To capture American voters’ hearts, China would likely become a hot topic among candidates. From Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, most candidates take a tough stance toward Beijing.

Accordingly, issues such as cyber-security will be magnified. If we step back and take a grand view of bilateral relations, these disputes do not define overall relations.

There is no denying that elements of competition exist, but strengthening bilateral cooperation remains significant

On the economic front, as the world’s top two economies, both sides should facilitate negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). On climate change, the two countries have carried on momentum to release another joint statement to support the upcoming Paris Climate Conference. More agreements are expected to enhance military cooperation as well.

President Xi’s visit could face some thorny issues. Yet on cyber-security, there’s the possibility the two countries could reach a consensus promising not to attack each other’s key infrastructures. The ultimate goal of the summit is not merely “trouble-shooting”, but to foster positive momentum for bilateral relations.

The details and the technical negotiations to handle differences should be left to the mechanisms, such as the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchanges (CPE). The summit must strengthen strategic mutual trust and stability to shape a framework for the current and future China-U.S. relations.

The two countries should reaffirm their intentions during the summit. Beijing has neither the intention nor the capability to challenge America’s global leadership status and it’s not China’s target to push the U.S. out of Asia. Meanwhile, the U.S. should clarify its intentions not to undermine China’s economic development or political legitimacy.

The new model of major-country relationship has already offered a solid foundation, upon which China and the U.S. could inject more concrete actions, which both can accept, so as to avoid misjudgments and to realize a constructive coexistence in the long run.

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