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China, US gear up for Xi-Obama summit on Nov 12
October 19, 2014, 6:44 am

China’s top diplomat and state councilor Yang Jiechi meets US Secretary of State John Kerry in Boston on 18 October 2014 [Image: US State Department]

China’s top diplomat and state councilor Yang Jiechi meets US Secretary of State John Kerry in Boston on 18 October 2014 [Image: US State Department]

Top Chinese and US officials have said President Barack Obama’s upcoming China visit will aim to decrease differences between the two biggest economies of the world.

The two sides are “seeking to build a new model of major-country relationship featuring non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” said China’s top diplomat and state councilor Yang Jiechi after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Boston on Saturday.

Yang said the Sunnylands meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart was “very successful”.

“Since then, much progress has been made in our relationship. We believe that we should continue to work together to deepen our mutual trust and to put our efforts to the major areas of cooperation while on the basis of mutual respect we can properly handle any kind of difference between us,” said Yang.

The two officials are jointly laying the groundwork for Obama’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 12 after a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Kerry and Yang also exchanged views on a range of other topics, including the China-US trade ties, climate change, Ebola, the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, Iranian nuclear talks, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It will be Obama’s second visit to China since his last visit in November 2009, 10 months after taking office. Beijing has made it clear through recent statements on the Ukraine crisis, it is opposed to the US-led attempts by Western nations to isolate Russia.

“There are many issues that China and the United States are cooperating on, even as we have some differences that we try to manage effectively. But right now, particularly on Ebola, on Afghanistan, on the Democratic Republic of North – of Korea, the North Korea nuclear situation, on Iran particularly, and on ISIL and counterterrorism, and on climate change. There are many areas where we are working hard,” Kerry said after talks with the Chinese diplomat.

China and the US are locked in competition over trade and over military and diplomatic influence in the region.

China has repeatedly accused the US of trying to profit from the historical maritime territorial disputes between China and some of its neighbors.

“The relationship between China and ASEAN has maintained good development momentum and we oppose the playing up of the so-called South China Sea tensions,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the ASEAN Regional Forum in August referring to what it called Washington’s “meddling”.

China also hit back at US criticism of Chinese policies during last month’s United Nations General Assembly.

“We should treat each other as equals. The pursuit by different countries of economic and social development must be respected. Their right to independently choose their social systems and development paths must be safeguarded,” said the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

US Treasury reports have often criticized China’s economic policies saying China tries to keep the value of its currency artificially low to give an unfair advantage to its exporters.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama in his UNGA address reasserted his administration’s seriousness in the proposed “Asia Pivot”.

“America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations.  But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law.  That’s how the Asia-Pacific has grown.  And that’s the only way to protect this progress going forward,” said Obama.

Earlier in August this year, China asked the US to stop frequent surveillance flights intended to closely watch the Chinese territory after Washington accused a Chinese jet of veering too close to a US surveillance plane.

In yet another episode that threatens to undo efforts aimed at finding common ground to tackle hacking, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, earlier this month, told the US to stop “fabricating stories” and “mudslinging” about alleged Chinese commercial spying. A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official has accused China of stealing secrets from US firms.


TBP and Agencies