中文版     Home     Introduction     People     News     Research     Publication     Cooperation     Viewpoint     Library  

Xi meets with representatives from US business, strategic and academic communities

Wu Xinbo

Global Times 2024-03-27

(Source:Global Times,2024-03-27)

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with representatives from American business, strategic and academic communities at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 27, 2024. Photo:cnsphoto

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with representatives from American business, strategic and academic communities at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 27, 2024. Photo: cnsphoto

Chinese President Xi Jinping met representatives from the US business, strategic and academic communities in Beijing on Wednesday, as China hosts a series of high-level events this week, demonstrating the country's commitment to attracting more foreign investment and expanding its opening-up to the world.

Some experts believe that such a rare meeting between the top Chinese leader and the US representatives not only signals China's expectation that bilateral relations will continue to improve since the San Francisco meeting between the Chinese and US top leaders in November 2023, but also shows that China is focusing more on engaging with American people as it welcomes US investment to achieve greater intertwining interests between the industries of the two sides. It is to "make the cake bigger," experts said.

The history of China-US relations is a history of friendly exchanges between the peoples of the two countries, written by the people in the past and even more to be created by the people in the future, Xi told the US representatives.

It is hoped that people from all walks of life in both countries will increase their interactions and exchanges, continuously building consensus, Xi said.

"People differ from one another, and even members of the same family are different. Seeking common ground while preserving minor differences and establishing more consensus is the same between nations, families, and relatives," Xi said, citing ordinary examples to elaborate on China-US relations.

The success of China and the US is each other's opportunity. As long as both sides treat each other as partners with mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, China-US relations will get better, Xi said.

Some 20 US firms were invited to participate in Wednesday's meeting, Reuters said, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. The meeting ran for around 90 minutes.

The attendees included Evan Greenberg, chairman of the National Committee on US-China Relations (NCUSCR), Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm, Graham Allison, founding dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council.

"China's economy is healthy and sustainable," Xi said, noting that China's growth rate was one of the fastest among major economies last year.

Xi said China is planning and implementing a series of major measures to comprehensively deepen reform, foster a world-class business environment that is market-oriented, law-based and internationalized, and provide broader development space for international businesses including US companies.

Xi urged the US to work with China in the same direction, establish a correct strategic perception, and properly handle sensitive issues to maintain the momentum for bilateral relations to stabilize from a downward spiral.

The US companies appreciated China's recent introduction of a series of important initiatives to further reform and opening-up, expressing their optimism about the prospects of the country's economic development. They said they will unswervingly continue to explore the China market, and develop a long-term close cooperative relationship with China.

The American business, strategic and academic communities support the strengthening of US-China exchanges at all levels to enhance mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation, in order to work together to address global challenges, and promote the establishment of a stable, sustainable, and productive US-China relationship.

'Make the cake bigger'

"From the perspective of the interests of the American business community, their interests are deeply intertwined with those of Chinese business community. Therefore, there is an inherent drive within the American business community to develop China-US relations," Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

It would be quite challenging for the US government to hinder such momentum, Lü said, noting that as the US presidential election heats up, American partisan strife may lead to the use of China-US relations as a negative topic for speculation.

At this moment, the message conveyed by the Chinese leader is clear: While preserving minor differences, the two sides should focus on the fundamental nature of bilateral relations, making the business community "a driving force" for them, Lü noted.

During the just-concluded China Development Forum (CDF) 2024, which was held from Sunday to Monday in Beijing, of the more than 80 business executives attending the forum, over 30 percent were from the US. This was strong evidence indicating the US business sector's unabating commitment to the Chinese market compared with the "decoupling" narrative from some US politicians.

Stephen Orlins, president of the NCUSCR, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the CDF on Sunday that "if I compare the US participation to last year's, it's probably increased two to two-and-a-half times." Orlins also attended the meeting with Xi on Wednesday.

Orlins said that since April 2023, there have been a series of high-level engagements between China and the US, and the bilateral relationship "has gotten off from the rock bottom and has improved somewhat," though there is still a huge space for further improvement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who also visited China recently to mark the opening of a new Apple flagship store in Shanghai and attend the CDF, said earlier that "There's no supply chain in the world that's more critical to us than China."

Bilateral relations in focus

During the meeting, Xi said the greatest consensus reached at the San Francisco summit in November 2023 was that China-US relations should stabilize and improve. Over the past few months, teams from both sides have maintained communication in various fields such as diplomacy, economy and trade, finance, law enforcement and joint counternarcotics working, climate change and cultural exchanges, and have made progress, Xi said.

The common interests between China and the US have not decreased but have instead increased under the current situation, Xi said. He noted that whether it is in traditional fields like the economy, trade, and agriculture, or in emerging areas like climate change and artificial intelligence, the two countries should become facilitators of each other's development, not obstacles.

"While the meeting demonstrates China's expectations for improving and developing bilateral relations with the US and welcoming US businesses to invest in China, it also indicates that China focuses on engaging with American people amid the overall difficult situation of the bilateral relationship," Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Biden administration is now paying more attention to the stability of US-China relations, so it does not have expectations for further developing relationship with China. However, from China's perspective, China-US relations need to be both stable and progressive, Wu said.

The crux of China-US relations is that the US has positioned China as its most important strategic competitor and most important geopolitical challenge. Such misunderstanding has led to constant problems in bilateral relations, and promises made by US leaders have failed to translate into concrete actions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a meeting with Greenberg and Orlins on Tuesday.

Moving forward, it is essential to address a series of significant and important issues that hinder the development of China-US relations, including problems at the level of the US' perception of China, as well as specific issues in areas such as economic and trade relations, Wu noted.

"There are also issues related to the Taiwan question, and problems existing within China-US cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Both sides need to sit down and discuss how to resolve them," Wu said.

2005- ©Center for American Studies,Fudan University.