BEIJING, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The summit between the two presidents of China and the United States, the largest developing country and developed country, is well timed and bears special significance as the world is bogged down in the worst economic crisis in decades, analysts say.
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in London, Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama held their first meeting Wednesday, focusing on actions to fight the devastating global financial crisis.
MEETING AT RIGHT TIME
Many observers believe the summit came at a right time when the Obama administration just took office for a short time and the China-U.S. relations are to embrace a new start.
Pei Minxin, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said "it is a positive sign for China and the U.S. to have a better start under the Obama administration, compared with the same period under President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush."
"Overall, bilateral relations have been proceeding in a stable manner despite a few rows since President Obama was sworn in January," Pei said.
"Obviously, both sides have a strong will to push bilateral ties forward towards a healthier direction...and a strong indicator of it is the unexpected success of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China in February," he added.
As chief U.S. diplomat, Clinton initiated the judgement that "U.S.-china relationship is the world's most important of the 21stcentury."
She also reiterated that the U.S. will stick to the "One-China" policy, abide by the three U.S.-China joint communiques, and welcome and support any positive development in the relations across the Taiwan Strait.
Analysts noted that as global economy is in a downward spiral, China-U.S. summit is not only in the interest of the two countries, but also meets the expectations of other countries.
Quoting Clinton's earlier remarks, Jin Canrong, associate dean with the School of International Studies at China's People's University, said China and the United States should work hand by hand as they are "in the same boat."
MEETING OF REMARKABLE SIGNIFICANCE
The face-to-face talks will offer a chance for the two leaders to know each other better and contribute to the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, Jin said.
Echoing Jin's comments, Pei of the Carnegie Endowment said a good personal and working relationship between the presidents may help solve differences and problems in bilateral relations.
People have high expectations that China-U.S. relations will start well and continue to grow well under the Obama administration in view of the sound development of bilateral ties during the latter part of the Bush administration, said Zhang Guoqing, senior researcher with the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Under such a circumstance, the two leaders will confirm results achieved in bilateral ties and discuss further cooperation," Zhang said.
The meeting "reflects the evolution of the foundation for U.S.-China relations," said Professor David M. Lampton, director of China Studies of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
In the 1970s, U.S.-China ties were basically built on the need to cope with threats from the former Soviet Union. "Today, the foundation is grounded in the much more positive, yet difficult, necessity of cooperating on issues of global importance," he said.
He said cooperation between the United States and China is needed for the stabilization of the global economy, regional and global counter proliferation systems, and climate change.
"In some sense, stabilization is the most common interest that China and the United States share," Lampton said.
Jin Canrong said that China-U.S. summit is in global interest as the international financial market is looking forward to all-around cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the crisis,
He said the two countries were recognized as two engines of the world economy, contributing to more than half of the world's economy in the past years.
NEW START IN BILATERAL RELATIONS
Most observers believe future bilateral ties will turn out to be positive, despite some long-standing differences and new challenges facing both countries.
"For the two countries, good news will far outnumber the bad ones," Jin Canrong said.
He listed six factors that determine the further growth China-U.S. ties, such as leadership of the two countries giving high priority to bilateral ties, wider common interests, better problem-solving mechanisms.
Other factors include the fact that changing power balance between the two countries has made it impossible for U.S. to unilaterally define bilateral ties; Taiwan issue has become more manageable following recent development and need of China's cooperation in some major issues, such as fighting terrorism, and resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the positive expectation for future China-U.S. relations is grounded on three premises. The first is that the United States now treats China as a cooperative partner.
Second, the United States now recognizes China's increasing impact and wishes to tackle global issues with the help of the Asian giant, a major shift from its earlier containment policy.
Third, both sides have set up channels for constant communication, offering a good platform for interaction.
While expressing general optimistic views on bilateral ties, analysts said there will be twists and turns ahead.
Jin Canrong said past experience indicated the U.S. government may some time have policy vacillation as far as its China policy is concerned. Some anti-China activists who are reluctant to see improved U.S.-China ties will time and again make troubles.
Lampton said it is not easy for both sides to reach consensus on some specific issues though both sides have the will for overall cooperation.
Both countries should resist protectionism in the face of the crisis and prevent shifting domestic problems abroad in tackling unemployment and other economic issues at home, he said.
Despite both countries' wishes to restrain the spread of weapons of mass destruction, difficulties still lay ahead for reaching agreement on problems such as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, he said.
Lampton stressed it is important for leaders of the two countries to address these issues -- however difficult they are, and not let current difficulties stop the quest for common policies that are in the interest of the two peoples in the long run.
China and the United States, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, shoulder great responsibility for the world. The development and deepening of bilateral ties is not only in the interest of the two peoples, but also conforms to the common wish of people in other countries.
"This is a fact rather than a doctrine," Ma Zhengang, presidentof the China Institute of International Studies, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.