Xi, Trump eye stable ties

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/9 23:33:39

Two leaders try to bridge differences on N.Korea, trade

Despite "some negative factors" in China-US relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump have tried to bridge differences on North Korea and trade in their latest meeting to keep bilateral relations stable, analysts said.

The two leaders met for the second time since May on Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

Xi told Trump that stronger Sino-US ties are conducive to stability and prosperity and serve the interests of both peoples and the international community in a complex world, where various conflicts emerge.

Trump, in a conciliatory tone, said it was "an honor" to have gotten to know Xi and that the two men are "developing, and have developed, a wonderful relationship."

"I think the meeting sends a positive signal. There has been some friction between the two countries lately. The meeting under the current circumstances shows that Sino-US relations have matured to be able to endure frictions," Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In an earlier phone conversation, Xi told Trump that Sino-US ties have reached important achievements since his meeting with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, Florida in April, but that relations have also been affected by "some negative factors."

China has voiced concerns over the latest US arms sales to Taiwan and the voyage of a US missile destroyer in China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands, which Beijing considers "a political and military provocation."

"China would like to maintain a certain level of stability, both domestically and geopolitically, to create a good atmosphere for the upcoming national congress of the Communist Party of China," Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the China Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

North Korean issue

North Korea remained a key issue in the meeting between Xi and Trump.

Trump told Xi that "something has to be done" on North Korea. "It may take longer than I'd like, it may take longer that you'd like," Trump said, "but there will be success in the end, one way or the other."

Trump also said he appreciated what Xi has done.

For his part, Xi said China is firmly committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and solving the issue through dialogue and consultations.

"It is clear that divergence remains between the two countries on how to handle the North Korean nuclear issue. But Trump sent a sign that the US is willing to continue working with China on the issue despite feeling somewhat 'disappointed,'" Jin said.

Trump had previously expressed impatience with China after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska, Hawaii and perhaps the US Pacific Northwest. North Korea said the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.

Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, said that Trump is trying to bargain by openly expressing his disappointment to pressure China into exerting more influence on North Korea.

"This phase will likely take one to six months to see if China would act accordingly and whether North Korea would start to behave under pressure. If not, there is the possibility that the US would consider a military option," Da told the Global Times.

Constructive power

The two-day G20 summit concluded in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday.

In the final communiqué, the G20 leaders took note of the US' decision to withdraw from the climate change accord. On trade, another sticking point, the leaders agreed they would "fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices and recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments in this regard."

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the final communiqué has absorbed many of Xi's propositions and continued the consensus reached at the Hangzhou G20 summit in 2016, the People's Daily reported.

Wang also noted that Xi's trip strengthened China's overall diplomacy and increased China's global image as a constructive power.

Xi also held bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the summit. 

Xi and Abe on Saturday reaffirmed their readiness to strengthen the partnership between the two countries in the future despite historical issues and territorial disputes.

Abe said he is willing to enhance bilateral cooperation with China in such areas as economy and trade, finance, tourism, and the Belt and Road initiative.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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