US, China reach landmark pacts

Updated: 2014-11-13 07:59

By Zhao Shengnan and Wu Jiao in Beijing and Chen Weihua in Washington(China Daily USA)

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US, China reach landmark pacts

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the end of their news conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

A new type of relationship between major countries will 'produce more benefits'

Beijing and Washington strove to narrow differences by reaching landmark agreements on Wednesday on a flurry of issues that had remained points of tension between them.

The agreements, mainly on climate change, military cooperation and trade, underpin the major sectors where the world's two largest economies will improve cooperation, analysts said.

The countries pledged to reduce the possibility of military accidents by early notification of major military operations and establishing guidelines of behavior on naval and air military encounters.

They also agreed on an ambitious action plan to cap greenhouse gas emissions, a move that throws the weight of the two countries behind a new global climate pact to be negotiated in Paris in 2015. Progress was also announced on talks over a bilateral investment treaty. "China would like to work with the US to implement the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation and common prosperity, and make a new type of relationship between major countries produce more benefits to people in the two countries and the world," President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Barack Obama, who arrived in China on Monday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and make a state visit to China.

US, China reach landmark pacts

Obama, at a news conference with Xi following their extended meetings, denied the Asia "pivot" policy is an attempt to contain China, saying the two countries have enormous stakes in each other's success.

Obama said China and the US have important differences in their conduct in foreign policy and their vision for respective countries, but he was encouraged by Xi's willingness for constructive engagement.

Many Chinese experts have said that while some in the US question whether a rising China could challenge US clout in the Asia-Pacific region, some in China remain suspicious that the US "pivot" to Asia, a centerpiece of Obama's foreign policy, is an attempt to contain China.

Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, said that to put this crucial bilateral relationship fully back on track, Obama and Xi must use the meeting in Beijing to deepen mutual understanding and publicly challenge these misperceptions.

"I always hold the view that if there were friction or a clear military conflict, it would not be due to the conflict of their ideologies or interests, but misunderstanding, miscalculation and misreading each other," Li said.

Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said narrowing differences on these seemingly intractable issues will be made easier if the two presidents begin their conversation by focusing on the strategic imperatives of the bilateral relationship.

Cui Liru, an expert on US studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said, "Beijing and Washington have realized that both countries need to prevent themselves from being trapped in an increasingly zero-sum competition that could lead to conflicts."

On Tuesday evening, Xi and Obama met at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in downtown Beijing shortly after the APEC meeting.

It is Obama's first state visit to China since Xi became president. Last year, the two leaders had a meeting at the Sunny lands estate in Rancho Mirage, California.

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