People who were worried about a confrontation between China and the United States may finally feel relieved. At the first meetings between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump since the latter assumed office earlier this year, the two leaders reached a number of consensus.
During his presidential campaign and first days in office, Trump used heated rhetoric about China-U.S. trade, the Taiwan question, the RMB-U.S. dollar exchange rate, and the South China Sea disputes. The first meetings between the two presidents, however, showed that the two governments have good intentions toward each other and are not headed for confrontation.
The meetings, held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 6-7, could be regarded as an occasion for strategic communication on the future of the China-U.S. relationship. Three highlights stood out from the meetings:
First, the two leaders emphasized the importance of China-U.S. cooperation. President Xi said there are a thousand reasons to make the China-U.S. relationship work and no reason to break it. Xi said cooperation is the only correct choice for future China-U.S. relations, adding that the two sides can be good partners. Trump agreed by saying that both nations can make great achievements through maintaining communication and coordination on major issues.
Second, during in-depth talks lasting over seven hours, the two presidents exchanged views on a wide spectrum of issues ranging from bilateral economic and trade relations to global challenges like nuclear proliferation and transnational crime. They also briefed each other on their concepts of governance and current agendas on internal and external policies. Their discussions covered almost all the topics affecting the two nations' relationship. This comprehensive and candid communication has strengthened mutual understanding between the two leaders and helped them establish good working and personal relationships.
Third, the initiatives taken by the two leaders will boost confidence about Sino-U.S. relations. For instance, the two concluded a top-level communication plan. At the invitation of Xi, Trump will pay a state visit to China this year. Four high-level dialogue mechanisms were also unveiled for diplomatic and security dialogue, comprehensive economic dialogue, law enforcement and cybersecurity dialogue, and social and cultural issues dialogue. These plans have bolstered confidence that the bilateral relationship will keep forging ahead.
Both governments are expected to work hard to translate the fruits of the talks into tangible benefits. The two sides are also expected to work in concert to promote high-level communication and dialogue in line with the consensus reached between the two presidents, expand areas of cooperation, and deal with sensitive issues with mutual respect, so as to further push forward the China-U.S. relationship.
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