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Spotlight: China, U.S. agree to expand common interests, control differences
2016/04/01

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, agreed here Thursday to deepen China-U.S. cooperation in various fields while controlling differences in a bid to consolidate and expand their countries' common interests.

The latest sign of a closer relationship between Beijing and Washington came as the two leaders met on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), discussing an array of issues ranging from macroeconomic policies and nuclear security cooperation, to maritime issues and Korean Peninsula stability.

CHINA-U.S. RELATIONS

In their first meeting this year, Xi and Obama agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs and to push for the healthy and steady development of bilateral relations.

Xi said that with the concerted efforts of China and the United States, the bilateral relations have seen important progress in recent years.

In 2015, the China-U.S. bilateral trade, two-way investment and personnel exchanges all hit a record high. The two countries have maintained effective coordination and cooperation in addressing major regional and international issues including climate change, Iranian nuclear negotiation, peacekeeping, public health and development.

"These outcomes have demonstrated the huge potential of the China-U.S. relations and highlighted the importance and necessity for them to strengthen coordination and cooperation," Xi said.

Xi reiterated China's commitment to reform and opening-up and peaceful development, stressing his country's resolution to safeguard and improve the current international system and order.

There are broad areas where China and the United States, the world's largest developing and developed countries, should and could cooperate, Xi said.

"Our common interests are much bigger than our differences," the Chinese president said. "Through cooperation, we can score many major accomplishments that will benefit both the two countries and the world at large."

Xi noted that on the basis of respecting each other's core interests and major concern, the two sides should actively seek solution to disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation, and control sensitive issues in a constructive manner to avoid misunderstanding, miscalculation and escalation of conflicts.

"China stands ready to step up communication with the United States, focus on cooperation, control differences and enhance mutual trust in a bid to build a new model of major-country relationship featuring no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," Xi added.

Commenting on the sluggish recovery of world economy and financial market turmoils, the Chinese president said that no country should stimulate exports via competitive devaluation of its currency.

China became the biggest trading partner of the United States last year, with the trade volume at nearly 560 billion U.S. dollars.

Regarding the coming G20 Summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou this year, Xi said that he hopes the United States can continue its support.

The Chinese president also stressed that his country and the United States should enhance their cooperation in a host of areas, including nuclear security and climate change and continue to make the cyber-security issue a bright spot in the bilateral cooperation.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told a media briefing after the Xi-Obama summit that the meeting was "positive, constructive and fruitful."

The two sides agreed to expand practical cooperation in areas including energy conservation and emission reduction, clean energy, smart power grids as well as environment-friendly ports, according to Zheng.

REGIONAL ISSUES

Talking about the Korean Peninsula issue, Xi stressed that all parties concerned should fully and strictly carry out UN resolutions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Pyongyang started off a new year with the testing of what it claimed was its first hydrogen bomb in January and followed up with the launch of a string of short- and medium-range projectiles.

Xi called on all parties concerned to refrain from any rhetoric and act that could escalate regional tension and any move that might impair the security interests of other countries and the strategic balance in the region.

Although the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is not on the NSS agenda, the recent flare-up of tension in Northeast Asia in the wake of the nuclear test and satellite launch by the DPRK has caused widespread concern.

Xi told Obama that his country is adamant on realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, on safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and on solving relevant issues through dialogue and negotiations as well.

Addressing the South China Sea issue, Xi vowed that his country will not accept any act under the disguise of freedom of navigation that violates its sovereignty and damages its security interests.

Xi reaffirmed that Beijing respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight other countries are entitled to under international law in the area, one of the world's busiest waterways.

China, he stressed, is resolute both in defending its sovereignty and related rights in South China Sea and in safeguarding peace and stability in the region, and sticks to the principle that the disputes should be settled in a peaceful way by relevant claimants through direct consultations and negotiations.

Beijing hopes that the United States will abide by its commitment to not taking sides on the sovereignty and territorial rows in South China Sea and play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability, said the Chinese president.

Xi also urged the United States to stick to the one-China policy. Reaffirming China's stance on the Taiwan issue, Xi demanded that the U.S. side continue taking concrete moves to help maintain the peaceful development of the relationship across the Taiwan Strait, which he said will also benefit the China-U.S. relationship in the long run.

Zheng said that the two leaders had frank exchange of opinions on sensitive issues in the China-U.S. relationship, one of the most important bilateral relations in the world, and agreed to control and manage differences in a constructive manner.

The senior diplomat said that Obama had pledged that his country does not support "independence" of Taiwan and Tibet.

COORDINATION, COOPERATION

On his part, Obama reiterated that his country welcomes the rise of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous China. He said that the two countries share extensive common interests in the Asia Pacific and the United States stands ready to control differences with the Chinese side in a constructive way.

Obama voiced his support for the uphill efforts of the world's second largest economy to stage the economic transformation including its supply-side structural reform which was proposed by China's policymakers as the latest remedy for economic ills.

The two countries agreed to deepen cooperation in a host of areas including economy and trade, military, people-to-people exchanges, law enforcement and cyber-security and enhance coordination and cooperation in a slew of international and regional issues related to Iran and Afghanistan and on peacekeeping and development.

In a joint presidential statement issued by the two countries on Thursday, they said that they will sign the Paris Agreement on April 22, months after the historic pact on climate change was adopted during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in France.

The two leaders have also agreed to issue a joint statement on nuclear security cooperation and work to make the fourth NSS a success.

Zheng said that both sides believe that the healthy and stable development of the China-U.S. relations is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples as well.

Xi and Obama, who expect to meet again during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September, agreed to make the gathering a success, Zheng said.

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