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Post-APEC Xi-Obama meetings bolster China-US relations / by Yu Xiang, December 1, 2014 Adjust font size:


On Nov. 7-11, China hosted the APEC summit, rolling out the red carpet for 21 APEC leaders. Following the APEC meetings, were exclusive Xi-Obama talks on the evenings of Nov.11 and Nov.12, which provided an opportunity for China and the U.S. to bolster their bilateral relations.

It seems the presidents' face-to-face talk can become a routine. In June 2013, Xi and Obama met for a two-day informal summit in Sunnylands, California. In September, they met again at the St. Petersburg G20 summit. In March 2014, Xi and Obama met on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Hague. The Beijing meeting was the second time for them to meet this year.

Obviously, good personal relations between President Xi and President Obama could play a big role in setting policies and achieving better relations. Just as what they both emphasized at the meetings, a stable bilateral interaction is essential to both countries and both want to continue framing the relationship in a "win-win" way. China and U.S. cooperation could avoid the historic pitfall of strategic rivalry between an existing power and an emerging power.

What's more, both countries are trying to discover new areas for cooperation. The issues under discussion ranged from long-established topics, such as trade and investment, the North Korea nuclear issue, climate change to recently emerged global issues, like the Ebola outbreak and the rise of the Islamic State (IS). These new issues provide more potential fort China-U.S. cooperation.

On the topic of climate change, China and the U.S. jointly announced their plans. China released its first-ever timeline for the peak of its greenhouse gas emission. The U.S. also promised to emit 26-28 percent less in 2025 than it did in 2005. The plans have big political and economic implications. The new emission targets send a powerful political signal that both countries hope to break the deadlock of current international climate negotiations. In term of the plans' economic implication, according the evaluation by the US Environmental Protection Agency, taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions yields create economic benefits, which could be the new growth pillars of both economies.

In fighting the Ebola epidemic, China showed its willingness to take on a bigger role in addressing international crises. It is reported that China decides to dispatch 480 PLA medical staff to treat Ebola patients and build a 100-bed treatment center in Liberia, the first such facility in the three countries most impacted by Ebola.

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