Xi must better bilateral relations

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Xi must better bilateral relations

China’s Vice President Xi Jinping is on a five-day, four-night visit to the United States. Barring any extraordinary events, he will inherit the title of general secretary of the Communist Party from current President Hu Jintao this fall and move on to succeed Hu as president in the spring of 2013. His visit to the United States is thus an opportunity to study the country before becoming the next leader of China.

Washington’s recognition of and attitude toward Xi will affect not only the bilateral relations between Washington and Beijing but also the global economy and international political dynamics. The whole world is paying close attention to Xi’s strategic visit across the Pacific.

As suggested by the Chinese media, which defines the purpose of Xi’s trip as encouraging “friendly” relations with America, the vice president seems to be fostering friendship with the United States and exploring further cooperation, rather than discussing specific issues of contention between the two countries. Xi meets with key figures of the U.S. government today, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as leaders of the House and Senate. Washington reportedly plans to treat him with utmost courtesy. Xi also plans to implant a friendly image in the minds of Americans by visiting a farm town in Iowa, which he had visited 27 years prior.

Relations between the United States and China are the most important bilateral relations in the world. Whoever is elected president of the United States in the November elections must be able to lead the world toward peace, stability and prosperity through close cooperation with Xi. The two leaders’ ability to do so affects - directly or indirectly - the lives of seven billion people around the globe.

Conflict and friction are inevitable during a transitional period in each country. As China’s economic and military power grows rapidly, the United States is intensifying efforts to contain its rise. But the interdependence of the global system forces both countries to not turn their backs on one another. As the coined word “Chimerica” shows explicitly, both should exhibit wisdom befitting their immense responsibilities to the world.

The age of a sole superpower is gone. One country cannot solve alone the world’s increasingly complex problems. The United States and China must do their best to cooperate with each other. We hope Vice President Xi will bear this in mind during his trip and during his term.
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