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UPDATED: April 12, 2014 NO. 14 APRIL 3, 2014
Intimate Diplomacy
The Xi-Obama meeting exemplifies the new-type relationship between China and the United States
By Ding Ying

Obama illustrated Washington's views on the Ukrainian issue, saying that his country agreed with China's stance and principles, attached importance to China's role, and was willing to maintain communication and cooperation with China.

Now the Sino-U.S. relationship is at a stage in which the two shape one another, said Diao Daming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, predicting interaction between the two major powers will be more frequent in the coming months. He noted that if the midterm elections of U.S. Congress in the second half of 2014 become unfavorable to Obama and the Democrats, Obama may work to emphasize his handling of the China-U.S. relationship as a highlight of his leadership.

Yuan Peng, Vice President of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the style and frequency of meetings between Chinese and U.S. presidents reflect the special significance of the two major powers' relationship. "This is indicative of progress in bilateral relations," Yuan said.

Only a few days before the Xi-Obama meeting in The Hague, the Chinese president and his wife hosted U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama, with her two daughters and mother, arrived in Beijing on March 20, kicking off a seven-day visit to China. During the meeting, Obama thanked China for its hospitality to his family.

The familiar atmosphere between the two presidents differs from the typical, stark official way of interacting. "This proves that the China-U.S. relationship can become richer in substance," said Jin Canrong, a professor with the Renmin University of China.

Email us at: dingying@bjreview.com

Common Understandings

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was "frank and constructive," said Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang on March 24 in The Hague. He concluded 10 common understandings reached between the two presidents:

The two leaders

—Spoke positively of the historic development of bilateral ties since the birth of their diplomatic bond 35 years ago, pledging to keep up with their commitment to building a new type of major-country relations

—Made joint efforts for the upcoming sixth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the fifth round of the China-U.S. Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in China

—Recognized the momentum observed in bilateral trade and investment cooperation since last year, agreeing to speed up talks over an investment pact, to oppose trade protectionism, to maintain an open and transparent trading system both at the regional and global levels, and to support each other's domestic reform agenda

—Agreed to strengthen dialogues between the two militaries, to set up a mechanism to inform each other of major military moves at an early date and to draft a code of conduct to safeguard the security of the navies and air forces on the high seas

—Agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation of fighting against terrorism and to boost law-enforcement cooperation, like combating transnational crime

—Agreed to enhance cooperation in climate change, clean energy and environmental protection

—Pledged to deal with sensitive issues and issues where they have different ideas based on the principles of mutual respect and treating each other as equals

—Recognized that they share important common interests in the Asia-Pacific region and should continue to enhance bilateral dialogues and coordination so as to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region

—Committed to promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintaining the area's peace and stability while creating conditions for an early resumption of the six-party talks

—Stated that they share the same goal of nuclear security and are willing to further deepen their cooperation in this area, pledging to communicate and coordinate with each other within the Nuclear Security Summit and other mechanisms to make contributions to global nuclear security and non-proliferation

(Source: Xinhua News Agency)

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