President Xi Jinping’s visit comes at a time when the US-China relationship is considered more “competition” than “cooperation”.
Resolve “trust building” issue
Strained relations have arisen as the two countries have competed for influence on security and economic issues.
The US has expressed concern over recent provocative activities by China, particularly China’s aggressive approach in territorial and maritime disputes with its neighbors, including the US’s close allies – Japan and the Philippines. Other problem areas are cyber security, the initiative of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and accusations over China’s devaluation of the Yuan.
Meanwhile China has consistently maintained that the US’s rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region aims to obstruct China’s growth. China said the US has rallied nations who have territorial disputes with China, and challenged China’s maritime interests.
During his visit, the Chinese President will try to persuade US leaders to adopt a more accurate view of China’s development strategy and give up any prejudice about the rise of China and its soft-power push policy.
President Obama will try to prove that the US’s Asia-Pacific Strategy doesn’t necessary mean a military encounter in this region.
Economic cooperation is key
Analysts say economic cooperation will be high on the agenda of President Xi’s visit. Xi’s first stop in the US was Seattle, the US’s top technology hub and the home of major companies like Microsoft and Amazon. Several US companies like Boeing and Starbucks have made large investments in China. President Xi hopes to reassure US investors about China’s policy towards foreign companies.
Economic cooperation has provide momentum for US-China relations in recent years. In 2014 US exports to China topped US$120 billion, making China the US’s 3rd largest export market. Figures show that the trade balance is in China’s favor. Since last August, China has been criticized for devaluing the Chinese Yuan to help its exporters. President Xi will assure US investors that China will develop its capital markets openly and transparently and not further devalue its currency.
The US wants to resolve short-term problems, while China cares more about the long term. With two different approaches, Xi and Obama are predicted to find little to agree on. They may make some progress on a bilateral free trade agreement for which negotiations began in 2008.