Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to the US is conducive to stabilizing the Sino-US relations, which are at a low point, by keeping the communication channels open amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, analysts said.
Xi left Washington, DC for home Friday evening after attending the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). He gave a speech at an opening plenary of the NSS and met with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the summit.
"The visit is especially important given the impact of the 2016 US presidential elections on Sino-US ties and current disputes in the South China Sea," Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday.
"Unlike previous years, neither Xi nor Obama has any plans for a state visit to the other country this year. Bilateral meetings on the sidelines of an international summit are crucial to overcome obstacles in the relations," Tao said.
Xi and Obama will meet at least three times this year, the first at the just-concluded NSS, the second in September when world leaders gather in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province for the G20 summit, and the third at the APEC meeting in Peru in November.
The meetings are conducive to stabilizing Sino-US relations, which have sunk over the past few years after sparring over a series of issues including maritime disputes, cyber security and North Korea.
During the visit, the two countries issued a joint statement on combating climate change and countering nuclear terrorism. But the meeting has not eased differences on the South China Sea issue or the deployment of the US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system in South Korea, analysts said.
"Both sides know that the South China Sea issue will not be solved for a relatively long period of time … However both countries have shown, during this visit, their willingness to manage their differences and acknowledge that cooperation is still the main theme of bilateral ties," Tao said.
Aside from a meeting with Obama, Xi’s attendance at the NSS, especially his speech on Friday, showed China’s commitment to global nuclear security.
Obama launched the NSS in 2010, with ridding the world of nuclear weapons as a central theme of his presidency. Chinese presidents have attended all four summits.
In his speech, Xi urged countries to increase national input and expand international cooperation to further strengthen the global nuclear security architecture.
He pointed out that when a country chooses to develop nuclear energy, it bears complete responsibility in ensuring nuclear security.
Xi also gave an outline of what China would do to boost global nuclear security cooperation.
He said China will build a network for capacity building on nuclear security and support all countries in minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium according to their needs. Xi said that China will, in the coming five years, review radioactive sources within the country and launch the technological support initiative against the threat of nuclear terrorism.
He also said that China will promote its national security monitoring system for nuclear power.
"China sees nuclear terrorism as a prime threat. It believes that nuclear security issues should be resolved under the current international mechanism rather than setting up a new one," Huang Rihan, a researcher at the Center For China And Globalization（CCG）, a think tank, told the Global Times.
Huang also said that by pushing for the creation of global nuclear security architecture, China aims to strengthen interaction with other nations, which also resonates with China’s concept of a new type of international relations.(By Bai Tiantian)
From Global Times, 2016-4-2