Xi, Obama discuss Asia-Pacific

Updated: 2013-09-09 10:55

By Wu Jiao in St. Petersburg, Chen Weihua in Washington and Zhang Yunbi in Beijing (China Daily)

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Xi, Obama discuss Asia-Pacific

President Xi Jinping meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday. It was their second meeting in three months. Ju Peng / Xinhua

Region displays our two countries' shared interests: Chinese leader

Beijing asked Washington to maintain an objective and fair attitude and press countries to make tangible moves to safeguard peace in the Asia-Pacific.

The region has an important opportunity for development, but it also faces "issues including maritime interests, as well as island disputes", Chinese President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Barack Obama in a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

Observers said Xi made the remarks to tell the US not to play a negative role in the issues regarding the South China Sea issue and Diaoyu Islands, and to make sure that Washington's rebalancing policy in the Asia-Pacific does not hurt China's core interests.

"The Asia-Pacific is a region that best displays shared interests of China and the United States, and the scope for bilateral cooperation is larger than the differences," Xi said.

The US expects all parties to resolve disputes through diplomatic reconciliation, and it is willing to contribute to this, Obama said.

Tao Wenzhao, a US studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the biggest challenge for the two countries is for them to interact smoothly in the Asia-Pacific when Washington is widely believed to be behind the South China Sea disputes.

Obama said the US expects the two countries to establish a comprehensive partnership regarding Asia-Pacific affairs.

Tao said Obama's comments were "much more positive than before".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has publicly taken the traditional Japan-US alliance as a major support for Japan's territorial claims and increasingly assertive military buildup.

Yet "Washington's concern has been growing about Tokyo becoming an unstable factor in East Asia and undermining Washington's overall interests in the Asia-Pacific," said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.

Given Japan's strategic dependence on the US, Washington can exert pressure on its traditional ally to moderate its behavior, Shi said.

"Setting up a partnership between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific is a laudable goal we should strive for, but it will be difficult to achieve," said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Friday's meeting was the second in three months between Xi and Obama after their talks at the Annenberg estate in California in June.

Syrian issue

Xi, Obama discuss Asia-Pacific

Xi underscored the necessity of simultaneously sticking to two principles - adhering to international laws and the basic norms of international relations, and banning the use of any chemical weapons.

"A political solution is the only right way out for the Syrian crisis, and a military strike cannot solve the problem from the root," Xi said.

China "expects the countries involved to think twice before taking action", Xi said, referring to the US plan to launch military strikes on Syria.

The international community should push for the opening of the second Geneva conference on Syria at an early date and initiate the political transition process, Xi said.

Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said "the possibility of Washington using armed force is still large" despite the uncertainty of whether Obama will obtain congressional authorization.

Obama said he is willing to keep in communication with China on the issue.

Zhao Yanrong contributed to this story.

(China Daily USA 09/09/2013 page1)