Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Wednesday held a summit meeting in San Francisco, U.S., where they sought the way forward for the strained ties between the world’s two largest economies.
Closely watched by the world, the visit to San Francisco marks Xi’s return to the U.S. after more than six years and also signifies another face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state following last year’s meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
During their meeting, Xi expressed his firm belief in a promising future of the bilateral relationship.
‘One country’s success is an opportunity for the other’
According to the World Bank, the U.S. had a GDP of just under $25.5 trillion last year while China’s was approximately $17.9 trillion, accounting for more than a third of the global economy when combined. China and the U.S. have nearly a quarter of the world’s population and their bilateral trade account for about a fifth of the world’s total.
The Chinese president has repeatedly said that “major countries should act like major countries.” Noting that the momentum of global economy remains sluggish, Xi told Biden in his opening remarks on Wednesday that the China-U.S. relationship, which is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, should be perceived and envisioned in the broad context of the accelerating global transformations unseen in a century.
Underscoring his consistent view that major-country competition is not the prevailing trend of the times, Xi said that the world is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other. Meanwhile, Biden vowed not to veer competition into conflict and called for joint efforts to address global challenges.
Over 200 U.S. exhibitors from agriculture, semiconductor, medical devices, new energy vehicles, cosmetics and other sectors attended the recently concluded sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE), marking the largest U.S. presence in the history of the annual event. This shows that both the Chinese and American people aspire mutually beneficial cooperation.
‘In San Francisco, China and the U.S. should assume a new vision’
The two presidents’ meeting in San Francisco is the first face-to-face meeting since they met ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia’s Bali last year, which laid the foundation for re-stabilizing the China-U.S. relationship.
However, the Bali consensus was broken by a series of U.S. actions against China earlier this year. It was not until June, when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China, that the U.S. side took a conciliatory gesture to ease the tensions between the two countries.
During Wednesday’s meeting with Biden, Xi reiterated the importance of implementing the Bali consensus, noting that the U.S. side stated in Bali that it does not seek to change China’s system, start a new Cold War, revitalize its alliances against China, support “Taiwan independence,” or engage in a conflict with China.
Mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation are the lessons learned from 50 years of China-U.S. relations as well as the conflicts between major countries in history, and China and the U.S. should put in a lot of efforts to follow them, Xi stressed.
Upholding the three principles in developing China-U.S. relations, Xi in the past few months has met Blinken and other U.S. officials and personages, including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, calling for joint efforts to improve bilateral ties.
“In San Francisco, China and the U.S. should assume a new vision,” Xi told Biden, who proposed to build together five pillars for China-U.S. relations: jointly developing a right perception, managing disagreements effectively, advancing mutually beneficial cooperation, shouldering responsibilities as major countries, and promoting people-to-people exchanges.
China, U.S. agree to ‘cooperate on areas of shared interest’
“For China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. And conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides,” Xi said in the meeting.
Elaborating on the essential features of Chinese modernization, Xi said China’s development is driven by its inherent logic and dynamics and it does not have a plan to surpass or unseat the United States. “Likewise, the United States should not scheme to suppress and contain China,” he added.
After the meeting, the two presidents stressed the importance of all countries treating each other with respect and finding a way to live alongside each other peacefully and of maintaining open lines of communication as well as preventing conflict.
They agreed to promote and strengthen dialogue and cooperation in various areas, including the establishment of a working group on counter-narcotics cooperation, resumption of high-level military-to-military communication and jointly tackling the climate crisis.
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