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News Analysis: A year after Sunnylands, mix of bright spots, hurdles for China-U.S. ties

English.news.cn   2014-06-07 14:45:45

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Xinhua) -- China-U.S. relations remain largely stable a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping's summit with his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, at the Sunnylands retreat in California, although there are a number of kinks to be ironed out.

The first Xi-Obama meeting since the Chinese president took office was held in a casual setting in a bid to promote closer ties between the two major countries.

They endorsed the idea of building a new model of major-country relations based on non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, with the aim of avoiding the zero-sum game usually seen in history between a rising power and an established one.

Since the summit, the two countries have continued high-level dialogues and flourishing trade, and, more importantly, accelerated the pace of improving their military-to-military ties. Nevertheless, considerable hurdles remain as the two countries seek a new model of relations due to historical and emerging disputes.

SUSTAINED DIALOGUES, IMPROVED MIL-TO-MIL TIES

In the past year, China and the U.S. maintained dialogues and exchanges, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and the High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which yielded positive results on enhancing cooperation in varied fields. Bilateral trade continued to flourish between the world's top two economies, exceeding 500 billion U.S. dollars in total volume last year.

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute at the Wilson Center, said China-U.S. ties over the past year were "very encouraging" as bilateral engagement became broader, deeper and richer.

"The snapshot of the relations today, there's a great deal of positive activity going on and that's mutually beneficial," Daly told Xinhua in an interview.

Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said China had made a huge concession in order to cooperate with the U.S. on fighting climate change.

He added that genuine efforts made by the two sides to reach an investment treaty are a "really important" step forward that will contribute to a better relationship.

China and the U.S. also cooperated in the past year on tackling some hot-button international issues, including a negotiated resolution of the crisis over the use of chemical weapons by Syria, and the advancement of talks on resolving Iran's nuclear issue.

The most notable progress, however, was the remarkable improvement in military-to-military ties, which used to be the weak link, experts said.

In addition to exchanges of visits by their defense and military chiefs, the two militaries held several rescue and relief assistance exercises and anti-piracy drills. The U.S. for the first time invited the Chinese navy to take part in the 2014 Rim of Pacific multinational naval exercises.

Philip Saunders, director for the study of Chinese military affairs at the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, said the past year witnessed "a much greater pace of cooperation, more high level exchanges" between the two militaries.

"I think there's more of a focus on practical things, and we've had some unprecedented joint exercises and efforts to do really concrete cooperation," Saunders said.

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Editor: An
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