Xi meets US senators, stressing stable bilateral ties, cooperation
Published: Oct 09, 2023 11:44 PM Updated: Oct 10, 2023 12:21 AM
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with a visiting US congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on October 9, 2023 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with a visiting US congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on October 9, 2023 in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with a US congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in Beijing on Monday, emphasizing the importance of a stable China-US relationship and cooperation, while rejecting the confrontational mentality and the "Thucydides trap" claim.

Chinese experts said the fact that President Xi personally received Schumer and his delegation reflects the great importance China attaches to bilateral relations, and reflects China's expectation that the US political community, through the lawmakers' visit, can gain a deeper, more objective, and rational understanding of China and Beijing's external policy. 

Schumer's visit is viewed as the continuation of momentum following a slew of high-level interactions since US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China in June, which analysts believed will strengthen the guardrails to prevent bilateral ties from spiraling out of control, and create an atmosphere for a possible meeting of heads of state during the APEC leaders' meeting in November. 

More importantly, the Chinese side hoped that the US side will translate the positive rhetoric during the visit into concrete actions in its China policy, according to experts.

Demonstrate broadmindedness

During meeting with Schumer, President Xi underlined that the China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. How China and the US get along will determine the future of humanity.

According to Xi, competition and confrontation is not consistent with the trend of the times. Still less can it fix one's own problems and address the challenges facing the world. China maintains that the common interests of the two countries far outweigh their differences, and the respective success of China and the US is an opportunity, rather than a challenge, to each other. 

The "Thucydides Trap" is not inevitable, and Planet Earth is vast enough to accommodate the respective development and common prosperity of China and the US, Xi said. 

Given the high degree of integration between the Chinese and US economies and their closely entwined interests, both countries stand to benefit from each other's development. A post-pandemic global recovery, meeting the climate challenge and resolving international and regional hotspots all require China-US coordination and cooperation, Chinese President remarked. 

As two major countries, China and the US should demonstrate the broadmindedness, vision and readiness to rise to the occasion expected by the international community, and act with a sense of responsibility to history, to the people and to the world, Xi noted. 

China gave a high-profile reception to Schumer, a politician considered to be a hawk on China, which shows the great importance Beijing attaches to China-US relations in order to deal with bilateral ties in a positive, pragmatic and rational manner, Diao Daming, a professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that Xi has elaborated on China's principled position on China-US relations in the spirit of being responsible to the people of the two countries and to history.

"This helps Schumer and his delegation to understand China more deeply, and to better understand the nature of China's internal and external policies," Li said. 

Senator Schumer and other members of the delegation expressed their appreciation to the Chinese side for its hospitality. They said that a stable US-China relationship is of vital importance not only to the two countries, but also to world peace and development. China's development and prosperity is good for the American people, he added.

US senators said that the US side does not seek a conflict with China, nor does it seek to decouple from it. The US is willing to enhance dialogue and communication with China in an open and candid manner based on mutual respect, responsibly manage the bilateral relationship, and stabilize and strengthen US-China relations.

The US side looks forward to strengthening bilateral trade and investment cooperation with China, and increasing communication and cooperation on such issues as climate change, drug trafficking and regional conflicts, the senators said, according to a readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

The senators' words show that they are satisfied with this trip to China, Li said, "But China hopes that the US can be consistent with its words and deeds, and turn the positive rhetoric during the visit to China into concrete action in the same direction."

Continuation of momentum 

Xi also explained to Schumer the legitimacy, rationality and intrinsic vitality of China's development path and its broad prospects for future development.

It is hoped that the two legislatures will have more interactions, dialogues and exchanges to increase mutual understanding and make a positive contribution to the stabilization and improvement of the China-U.S. relationship, Xi remarked. 

Over the past period, no matter how frequent the exchange of visits between senior officials of the US and Chinese administrations has been, the US Congress has always had China hawks undermining bilateral relations, Diao said. 

China hopes that this visit, especially the direct interaction between lawmakers and Beijing, will broaden the channels of communication, and give the Congress a better and more objective perception of China, thus better stabilizing the US-China relationship, Diao noted. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday also met with Schumer. Wang expressed hopes of developing healthy bilateral ties, which requires rationally managing differences and forming a more accurate understanding of China for Washington, according to media reports. 

Schumer is the latest high-level American politician to visit China, as Washington seeks to ease tensions and promote the head-of-state meeting during November's APEC leaders' meeting in San Francisco. 

Meeting with the Chinese leader and top diplomat maintains the momentum of high-level dialogue between China and the US after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's China trip. Regarding Schumer's experience, his meeting with Xi certainly creates a better environment for a possible Xi-Biden meeting, Diao said.

Analysts said that the congressmen's China visit is not the same as that of an administration official, as the administration's concern is how to put the US in a position of strength in its competition with China through engagement, and has strong strategic considerations. On the other hand, visits by congressmen take into greater account the aspirations of their constituents and those of groups whose interests are closely integrated with those of China.

"We can also expect a delegation of Representatives to visit China, as well as a delegation of US Governors to visit China, soon to follow," Li said. 

More exchanges between the US and China at different levels and sectors will be conducive to creating more solid guardrails that better prevent the US-China relationship from spiraling out of control, ensuring that they do not degenerate into a conflict, Li noted. 

In particular, upcoming events such as the US presidential elections and Taiwan regional election may add to the strain on China-US relations due to the unexpected selfish behavior from some politicians, the expert added.