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Foreign Policy

What to Expect from Obama’s China Visit

Nov 06 , 2014
  • Wu Jianmin

    Former President, China Foreign Affairs University


President Obama will soon visit China and attend the Beijing APEC Summit. This is Obama’s second visit to my country. Both sides are attaching a great deal of importance to this visit and are making a lot of effort to make the visit a success. My American friends asked me this question: "What Should Obama and Xi Say to Each Other at APEC?" My answer is as follows:

President Xi Jinping and President Obama will touch upon a wide range of issues, global and bilateral. They should talk in particular about the following topics:

1. President Xi Jinping and President Obama should reaffirm their determination to build a new model of big power relationship, characterized by no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. This means that China and the United States will continue their cooperation and do whatever they can to avoid a Thucydides trap. Their consensus on the new model of a big power relationship created a good precedent. Never in human history was there such a consensus between an established power and a rising power. It is indeed historical and will have a hugely positive impact, not only on the bilateral relationship, but also on the peace, stability and prosperity of the world.

2. There are two opposite approaches to take in international relations. One is a collaborative approach, based on economic interdependence and the necessity for mankind to join hands to meet common challenges. The other is a confrontational approach, based on a zero-sum game mentality and on the need for interest groups to fan conflicts, confrontation and regional wars, because they can gain enormous benefit from the confrontation.

President Xi Jinping and President Obama should stick to the collaborative approach, which represents the hope of mankind in the 21st century.

3. President Xi Jinping and President Obama should join hands to promote FTA, growth and connectivity in the Asia Pacific region. This region remains the most dynamic and vibrant region in the global economy. FTA, growth and connectivity in the Asia Pacific will provide a strong push for economic development in the Asia Pacific region, which will benefit the entire international community.

4. President Xi Jinping and President Obama should point out that the Ebola crisis poses a daunting challenge to the international community and requires a global response. The international community should join hands to express solidarity with African people in their fight against Ebola.

5. They should find ways and means to strengthen their cooperation to deal with hot spots issues, such as terrorism, Afghanistan, North Korea, etc.

6. It is quite natural that the United States and China have differences of opinion on a series of issues. The two leaders need to find ways to get those differences under control and should not let them stand in the way of cooperation.

7. The two leaders are expected to give instructions to their respective negotiating teams to speed up and conclude negotiations on the BIT within the next two years. China-US BIT will contribute enormously to bilateral investment cooperation and bring this cooperation to a higher level for the benefit of both the Chinese and American people.

8. They have to make clear that they’re ready to make the best use of the next two years to develop a good collaborative relationship between China and the United States, which will be an important part of President Obama’s political legacy and will open up a bright prospect for the further development of China-US relationship. That will be good news not only for the two countries, but also for all APEC members and the rest of the world.

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