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Experts: China, U.S. should focus on low-hanging fruits to stabilize ties


China and the United States on Friday reached a five-point consensus following a "comprehensive" exchange of views between the two sides during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's three-day visit to China, with the first being their commitment to stabilizing and developing bilateral ties.

Blinken's China trip, his second in less than a year, is considered a tangible move to stabilize China-U.S. relations – one of the most important bilateral relations in today's world – but experts say that the two sides should focus on low-hanging fruits, securing pragmatic results that can be easily achieved, step by step, to rebuild mutual trust.

A 'very clear signal' to U.S.

The fundamental issue of whether China and the U.S. are partners or rivals was highlighted during Blinken's trip.

When meeting Blinken in Beijing on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that China and the U.S. are partners rather than rivals and should refrain from targeting, opposing or damaging each other.

He said that China is happy to see a confident, open, prosperous and thriving United States and expressed hope that the United States can also look at China's development in a positive light.

"This is a fundamental issue that must be addressed, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right, in order for the China-U.S. relationship to truly stabilize, improve and move forward," Xi told the top U.S. diplomat.

The Chinese president's latest message comes as a reiteration of what he said during a San Francisco visit last November, when he told U.S. President Joe Biden that the two countries could be partners that respect each other and coexist in peace.

"If one side views the other side as a partner, it means to look into more opportunities instead of challenges. But [if] one side views the other side as kind of a rivalry, it will cause a lot of trouble," said Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department for American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, in an interview with CGTN on Friday.

Sun Chenghao, a fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, echoed the same.

"By defining China as a competitor, the U.S. acts on such a perception, which only results in competition and won't lead to real cooperation," Sun told CGTN on Friday.

The two experts expressed belief that China has sent a very clear signal to the U.S. that China would like to work with it instead of falling into antagonism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing, China, April 27, 2024. /Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing, China, April 27, 2024. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing, China, April 27, 2024. /Xinhua

A tangible move

As for the results of Blinken's China trip, the experts say it represents a tangible move on the part of the two countries to stabilize China-U.S. ties.

During over five-hour-long talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Blinken had an in-depth exchange of views on a wide range of issues on Friday.

In the talks, Wang made clear China's stance on issues relating to strategic perceptions, the Taiwan question, trade, science and technology, the South China Sea and other major issues of China's core concerns, Yang Tao, director-general of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told the press on Friday night at a briefing.

Yang noted that Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong exchanged views with Blinken on drug control and law enforcement cooperation, and Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China Chen Jining and Blinken discussed the city's cooperation with the U.S.

The talks were "candid, substantive and constructive," said Yang.

"Blinken's China trip carries forward the consensus made by the Xi-Biden meeting in San Francisco, and through this visit, the Chinese side has told the U.S. what needs to be adjusted to get relations back on the right track," Sun said.

Focusing on low-hanging fruits

Among the five-point consensus, China and the U.S. have agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and contacts at all levels, ranging from diplomacy and military to the economy, climate change and artificial intelligence.

Sun described the agreed cooperation on climate change and drug control as low-hanging fruits for the bilateral relationship and called for more cooperation along these lines.

"By gradually expanding cooperation in these fields, mutual trust will grow in the course," he said.

The stabilization of China-U.S. relations, to some degree, depends on whether the two sides can explore more and more such fields, he added.

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