Obama, Xi summit “blazed new trail” says official

The two leaders reportedly agreed on a relationship of cooperation, not conflict

Topics: Barack Obama, California, China, Diplomacy, Xi Jin Ping, Cyberwar, summit, ,

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping “blazed a new trail” away from the two nations’ past differences, a senior Chinese official said Saturday after a two-day summit in the California desert that ended with few policy breakthroughs but the prospect of stronger personal ties.

Xi’s senior foreign policy adviser, Yang Jiechi, said the two leaders “talked about cooperation and did not shy away from differences” in about eight hours of talks Friday and Saturday. The gathering at the sprawling Sunnylands estate was their first meeting since Xi took office in March.

“The two presidents agreed to build a new model of major country relationship between China and the United States based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Yang said.

“We have to stay each other’s partners, not rivals,” Yang said.

Yang said the international community expects relations between the world’s two largest economies to steadily improve and grow, and that they are committed to working more closely together. He called it “a strategic, constructive and historic meeting.”

Obama told reporters that the talks were “terrific” as he and Xi opened their second day of talks Saturday by walking side-by-side through the manicured gardens of the sprawling Sunnylands estate. The unusual summit site was aimed at fostering more candid and free-flowing discussions on numerous high-stakes issues, including cybersecurity, North Korea’s nuclear provocations and the economy.

Yang said cybersecurity shouldn’t be the cause of friction but an area of cooperation for two nations that face similar challenges. Yang said China “is against all forms of hacking and cyberattacks. China itself is also a victim of cyberattacks and we are a staunch supporter of cybersecurity.”

The leaders closed the summit in low-key style, with no formal statements to the press, just a private tea with Xi’s wife.

The White House said in a statement shortly after Xi departed the sprawling estate that the two nations agreed to work together for the first time to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas. The agreement was cast as a significant step toward tackling climate change.

U.S. officials are hoping that Xi, who took office in March, proves to be a new brand of Chinese leader. He has deeper ties to the U.S. than his predecessors, given that he lived in Iowa briefly as a visiting official and sent his daughter to college in the U.S.



The two leaders appear to have more in common than Obama had with former Chinese leader Hu Jintao, who often appeared stiff and formal in meetings. Both men are in their 50s and share a love of sports: swimming and football on Xi’s side, basketball and golf on Obama’s. Both are also married to glamorous, high-profile wives who have played a strong role in shaping their images.

During their talks, the two men also spent time explaining to each other how their life experiences have shaped their world views, an Obama administration official said.

Xi talked about growing up in the Chinese countryside during his country’s cultural revolution and the perspective it gave him on his country’s development. And Obama explained about how his childhood in Hawaii shaped his view of the U.S. as a Pacific power.

The Chinese leader broke out a bottle of “Maotai,” a famous Chinese liquor, to toast Obama during Friday’s working dinner, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the private meetings.

The two leaders will likely meet again in September, on the sidelines of an international economic summit in Russia. Xi also invited Obama to travel to China soon for a similarly informal round of one-on-one talks.

Ahead of the weekend summit, the U.S. emphasized that Obama would press China on its alleged cyberhacking against the American government and businesses. But Obama and Xi carefully avoided publicly accusing each other’s nation of high-tech intrusions, though they acknowledged an urgent need to find a common approach on addressing the matter.

“We don’t have the kind of protocols that have governed military issues and arms issues, where nations have a lot of experience in trying to negotiate what’s acceptable and what’s not,” Obama said during a Friday night news conference with Xi.

Obama also sought to distinguish between China’s alleged cyberspying and his own government’s monitoring of U.S. phone and Internet records. He insisted the two issues were separate and distinct, and that concerns over hacking and intellectual property theft shouldn’t be confused with the debate over how governments collect data to combat terrorist threats.

“That’s a conversation that I welcome,” he said.

Xi, who called rapid technological advancements a “double-edged sword,” claimed no responsibility for China’s alleged cyberespionage. He said China was also a victim of cyberspying but did not assign any blame.

Xi has been expected to press China’s claims of business discrimination in U.S. markets and to express concern over Obama’s efforts to expand U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region. China sees that as an attempt to contain its growing power.

On North Korea, U.S. officials said Obama was looking to build on Xi’s apparent impatience with North Korea’s nuclear provocations. The U.S. has welcomed Xi’s recent calls for North Korea to return to nuclear talks, though it’s unclear whether the North is ready to change its behavior.

Xi departed California Saturday afternoon. Obama planned to stay in California through the weekend, though he had no public events planned.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>