A favorable beginning
Updated: 2013-06-13 07:57
By Zhou Qi (China Daily)
President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, met on Friday and Saturday at the Sunnylands estate in California. The informal summit was unparalleled in the history of relations between the two countries, as the talks were held less than three months after Xi entered office. His predecessor Hu Jintao visited the United States three years after becoming China's top political leader and Jiang Zemin paid a state visit to the US four years after becoming president.
The arrangement this time reflected the importance that both China and the US attach to the development of bilateral relations and the two countries' desire to inject new vitality into their relations through frank and constructive talks.
During the meeting, the two leaders spent more than eight hours together, talking informally without outside interference. Generally, formal talks between the heads of state or hastily arranged meetings on the sidelines of international summits are not favorable to in-depth discussions about bilateral, regional and global issues of common concern, nor do they offer enough time to build up rapport, which is necessary for strategic mutual trust between countries.
The informal meeting between Xi and Obama enabled them to talk frankly about issues of common concern and was conducive to the two leaders getting to know one another.
After weathering the global financial crisis the US economy is beginning to recover, while China has grown to be the world's second-largest economy during the crisis period. With the end of the US' decade-long anti-terror war and the withdrawal of forces from two major overseas battlefields, it is now accelerating its strategic rebalancing toward Asia to tap into the economic vitality of the Asia-Pacific region and focusing more on competition and cooperation with China, a rising power with growing regional influence.