Foreign Affairs
Xi-Obama summit: Walk and Talk
Last Updated: 2013-06-09 10:06 |
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By Li Hongmei

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama take a walk before heading into their second meeting, at the Annenberg Retreat, California, the United States, June 8, 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama held the second meeting here on Saturday to exchange views on economic ties. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

The visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama had wide-ranging talks, including a 50-minute chat outdoors, to conclude a get-to-know-you visit that included an extensive discussion on issues of common concern.

With cybersecurity, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), economic ties and other topics on the agenda, the two presidents went into two days of meetings with much ground to cover. Their aim was to use this weekend's gathering to address a number of issues with broad strokes and to chart a path for problem solving in the future.

"They agreed that North Korea (i.e. the DPRK) has to denuclearize, that neither country will accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and that we would work together to deepen cooperation and dialogue to achieve denuclearization," White House national security adviser Tom Donilon told reporters.

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi told a separate news conference that Xi had told Obama that China and the United States were "the same in their positions and objectives" on the DPRK nuclear issue.

The Xinhua news agency said Friday that the DPRK nuclear issue could be a "converging point," but called on Washington to improve its ties with Pyongyang.

In talks that may set the stage for China-US relations for years to come, the pair spent about eight hours together over Friday and Saturday at a sprawling retreat in the sun-baked desert near Palm Springs, California.

The two leaders appeared together Saturday morning, strolling the idyllic grounds of the private Sunnylands estate where the summit was held. They chatted as they walked with translators in tow, and Mr. Obama paused for a moment to tell reporters that the meetings had been "terrific."

Obama described to Xi the problems the United States was concerned about regarding cyber security. Xi said: "By conducting good faith cooperation, we can remove misgivings and make information security and cybersecurity a positive area of cooperation between China and the U.S."

"The application of new technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it will drive progress…. on the other hand it might create some problems for regulators and it might infringe upon the rights of states, enterprises, societies and individuals," President Xi was cited as saying.

Yang Jiechi, briefing Chinese reporters, said China wanted cooperation rather than friction with the United States over cybersecurity.

"Cybersecurity should not become the root cause of mutual suspicion and friction, rather it should be a new bright spot in our cooperation," Yang said.

Xi also said the two sides should improve military-to-military relations, as well as cooperation on trade and the environment. He said he looked forward to maintaining close communication with President Obama, whom he invited to visit China for a similar summit "at an appropriate time".

Obama said the two sides would "institutionalize and regularize" military-to-military talks. 

President Xi also touched on the new-type relationship between China, as a rising power and the U.S., an established one.

"China and the United States must find a new path, one that is different from the inevitable confrontation and conflict between the major countries of the past," President Xi said. "And that is to say the two sides must work together to build a new model of major country relationship."

"I stated very clearly to President Obama that China will be firmly committed to the path of peaceful development," he said. "By the Chinese dream we seek to have economic prosperity, national renewal and people's well-being.…It is connected to the American dream and the beautiful dreams people in other countries may have."

Obama responded by saying he welcomed China's continued "peaceful rise". He hoped for "more extended" and informal talks leading to a "new model of cooperation."

"What I'm very encouraged about is that both President Xi and myself recognize that we have a unique opportunity to take the U.S.-China relationship to a new level and I am absolutely committed to making sure that we don't miss that opportunity," said President Obama.

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