Xibama: Uformelt topmøde skal genstarte forhold mellem Kina og USA

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Xi Jinping har været på rundtur i Syd- og Mellemamerika. Men det er sidste stop på turen, der er det vigtigste.

De to præsidenter Xi Jinping og Barack Obama mødes i dag i Californien, og det kan blive et møde, der bliver et vendepunkt for det hårdtprøvede forhold mellem Kina og USA, hvor modstanden nærmest er indbygget i de to landes politiske DNA.

Der er brug for parterapi. Historisk har de to lande haft nok at skændes om, men de senere år er listen over uenigheder, der kan skubbe forholdet ud over kanten, blevet længere – Nordkorea; Kinas grænsestridigheder med nabolande, der er allierede med USA; Taiwan; hackere; økonomi; og så videre.

USA og Kina bliver nødt til at finde en måde at holde hinanden på. I dag er deres økonomier flettet så meget sammen, at de to lande – like it or not – er afhængige af hinanden.

»Kina og USA er som siamesiske tvillinger«, siger Victor Gao, der var personlig tolk for Deng Xiaoping under hans afslappede og epokegørende besøg i USA i 1979, som det nuværende topmøde mellem Obama og Xi bliver sammenlignet med.

Det kan du læse mere om i min artikel i dag i Politiken (som du selvføgelig bør abonnere på, skam dig, hvis du ikke gør du, fyyyyy).

Her får du opsamling, links og citater om topmødet.

Politiken og jeg selv skriver blandt andet om, hvordan Xi Jinping vil forsøge at finde en anden stil end sin forgænger Hu Jintao, der havde en personlighed som en spånplade:

Hvor USA og præsident Obama har flere punkter, som man vil diskutere med kineserne, så har Xi Jinping ikke en tilsvarende dagsorden, siger Linda Jakobson, der er leder af afdelingen for østasienstudier på australske Lowy Institute.

»Jeg tror, at Xi forsøger at profilere sig selv som en anden type leder. Vi har set, at den type sprog han bruger i offentlige taler, da vil han nok anse diskussionen i denne uformelle ramme som en fortsættelse af det«, siger Linda Jakobson.

Siden Xi kom til magten har han og partiet arbejdet på at give ham et mere folkeligt og energisk image, der er det modsatte af hvad Hu Jintao var kendt for både blandt kineserne og i internationale sammenhæng.

»Jeg har altid haft en fornemmelse af, at kinesernes insisteren på formaliteter har afspejlet deres usikkerhed – at de konstant afkræver respekt. Hvis Xi føler sig mere afslappet, eller vil fremstille sig som mere afslappet, så er der ingen grund til at insistere på formalia og protokoller«, siger Linda Jakobson.

Men som andre eksperter peger hun på, at spændingerne mellem de to lande ikke vil forsvinde, selvom de to præsidenter kommer godt ud af det med hinanden. Der er et politisk etablissement i begge lande, hvor der er stærke interesser og indgroet misstillid.

»Xi vil etablere et mere personligt forhold til Obama, som i hans øjne vil være en fordel for forholdet mellem USA og Kina, og som er nemt at opnå. Men personligt gode relationer er ikke det samme som bilateral succes«, siger Shi Yinhong, der er professor i internationale studier på Renmin Universitet i Beijing, og rådgiver for den kinesiske regering.

Wall Street Journal har også talt med Shi Yinhong, og artiklen kommer ind på selve rammen om mødet:

Chinese analysts said Beijing accepted the format because they viewed an informal meeting as more prestigious than a state visit since only one other Chinese leader had been received in the U.S. in such a way: Jiang Zemin, who was hosted by President George W. Bush at the family ranch in Texas, in 2002.

That took place shortly before Mr. Jiang retired, so for Mr. Xi to have a similar meeting so soon after taking power is a strong indication of his standing within the Party and his greater confidence in dealing with foreign leaders, according to Chinese political analysts.

“The China-U.S. relationship has been heading in the wrong direction for several years,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.

“If Xi Jinping can meet in this way with the president of a superpower so early and achieve some results, this will be quite beneficial for him domestically, and show he’s really the master of Chinese foreign policy.”

Mr. Xi already demonstrated his self-assured leadership style during his visit last year, when he attended a reunion with a family in Muscatine, Iowa, with whom he stayed for a while on a trip there in 1985.

But the Sunnylands meeting will be far more challenging, as he will have to be prepared to negotiate unscripted with Mr. Obama over several hours, according to people familiar with the preparations.

In a typical bilateral meeting, Chinese leaders rarely deviate from a script that has been approved by other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the top decision-making body.

ChinaFile fortæller mere om, hvordan mødet er netop uformelt og uden æresvagter, statsmiddag og kanonsalutter. Hvilket er uhyre usædvanligt men et tydeligt forsøg på at genstarte forholdet mellem USA og Kina:

For the presidents of two hugely important countries to hold a summit of this nature is all but unique in recent diplomacy. Moreover, the main purpose of the upcoming Obama-Xi meetings is not to respond to an urgent crisis, but rather to try to reshape the troubled but all-important U.S.-China relationship in a significantly better long-term direction. Expectations must be limited about the outcome of one event in such a complex relationship, but 41 years after President Nixon and Chairman Mao “opened” the present U.S.-China relationship, a kind of re-opening is being attempted.

Three things immediately stand out about the upcoming meetings:

Timing: Presidents Obama and Xi were not expected to meet until September, and then only as a sidebar to the G-20 meeting in Russia. Their meeting now takes advantage of China’s new leadership and President Obama’s recent reelection, creating an opportunity for both countries’ top leaders before old patterns get carried forward.

Location: The meetings will take place in Rancho Mirage, California, at the former estate of Walter Annenberg called Sunnylands. Choosing a site like Sunnylands eliminates the need to treat the meeting with all the restrictive formalities of a usual state visit and summit meeting.

Format: The format will emphasize extended informal conversations. Three premises drive this. First, informal conversation creates opportunities for the two leaders to develop personal trust. Second, Xi Jinping’s style makes informal and interactive exchange more likely than with his stiffer predecessor Hu Jintao. Third, in current circumstances, more personal interaction is the most promising way for the leaders to find wider areas of common ground and set goals for at least the next four years.

New York Times har artikel, der fortæller mere om netop det personlige diplomati. Og har her god opsummering af, hvad Kina og Xi Jinping vil opnå:

Mr. Xi, analysts in Beijing said, has two very different goals: to nurture trust, yet project self-confidence. He appears genuinely to want a stable and productive relationship, but there is also widespread wariness of American intentions, said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S.-China Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

“China hopes that this visit will help to build personal ties and friendship between the two leaders so that conflicts in relations can be moderated,” Mr. Sun said in an interview. “But expectations cannot be too high; otherwise, they’ll be followed by frustration.”

Tensions between the United States and China have flared over the Obama administration’s so-called strategic pivot to Asia, which some Chinese, particularly in the military, have viewed as an American plot to check China’s influence in its region.

“This isn’t prewired for success,” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a top China adviser in the Clinton administration now at the Brookings Institution. “There is a sense that the relationship has gotten into trouble. Both sides feel it can no longer be treated in a regularized manner.”

Christian Science Monitor trækker trådene tilbage i historien og fortæller om, hvordan Kina og Xi i de seneste måneder har talt om et nyt forhold til USA:

One hundred years ago, Germany’s rise as a great power so destabilized the European order, and so scared top dog Britain, that the conflict between them tore their world to pieces. Further back in history, dominant Sparta’s fear of Athens’ emergence led to a war that left the ancient world in shreds.

In China, diplomats take that type of long view. When President Xi Jinping, ruler of the contemporary world’s rising star, meets US President Obama for two days of informal talks in California on Friday, he will have one overriding goal: to convince the leader of today’s established power that they can learn from history.

Beijing has been talking up “a new kind of great power relationship” for several months now. Exactly what this mantra means is not yet clear. But Washington, too, is anxious to explore it.

“There is a lot of uncertainty and frustration in America about where China is going, and a lot of uncertainty and fear in China about what the US plans to do about us,” says Jia Qingguo, deputy head of Peking University’s School of International Studies.

If the two leaders hit it off, he adds, their weekend meeting “could be immensely helpful to guide the relationship in a positive direction.”

Brookings har analyse om topmødet, hvor Kenneth G. Lieberthal går det systematisk igennem i en analyse, som har denne konklusion:

Both sides have indicated that they want to set the overall U.S.-China relationship on a path that will prevent a trend toward major power conflict. But neither side, at this point, has full confidence in the long term intentions of the other. It could prove very significant, therefore, if this summit also becomes the venue for a more strategic discussion of the future of U.S.-China relations.

A strategic discussion could begin with a serious exchange of views on how each leader envisages the major threats and forces shaping the world a decade from now – and how each views the role of his own country in dealing with these elements. A dialogue about enduring and new challenges could clarify fundamental perspectives and concerns and thus help reveal potential areas for major U.S.-China cooperation – as well as those cleavages that time will not reduce.

Such a truly strategic discussion, in short, could provide a perspective that would give added resonance to the more concrete initiatives that may grow out of this summit, increasing the prospect that they will contribute to building greater mutual trust about long term intentions. This outcome is by no means a certainty – but it is an opportunity that warrants serious attention.

Brookings har også en anden analyse, som er en top fem over de emner, som de to præsidenter bør tale om. Her er teksten, som du bør klikke ind på, for der er en video med analyse til hver af punkterne:

1. Cybersecurity
All countries engage in some form of spying, but China’s cyber-spying on American industries is especially threatening. If China refuses to curtail the practice, Ian Wallace explains, the U.S.-Sino relationship could be profoundly undermined.

2. North Korea
North Korea’s brinksmanship is disturbing to the region and problematic for the Chinese government, which is often asked to calm the country down. China agrees that North Korea needs to change, notes Jonathan Pollack, director of the China Center at Brookings.

3. China’s Foreign Investment
China’s foreign investment is staggering and continues to grow. China’s dollars also buy political influence around the world and could even hinder U.S. industrial growth. It may be unsettling but there’s little the U.S. can do. Eswar Prasad has the details.

4. China’s New Government
The tension between the U.S. and China is largely fueled by their respective desire to reach the same goal: they both want to be the world’s preeminent power; but Cheng Li says this isn’t as ominous as it sounds.

5. East and South China Seas Dispute
Maritime rights have been a long-festering problem affecting several countries in the East Asian region. It’s an issue that can destabilize the neighborhood or the world and could possibly lead to war as Richard Bush, director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, explains.

Bloomberg skriver, at vi ikke – og stort set alle analytikere er enige – skal forvente konkrete resultater fra mødet. Ej heller skal vi nok forvente, at der igen bliver sunget Elvis:

For a state visit we would have to spend so much time and energy on the formalities and the protocol,” Cui Tiankai, China’s U.S. ambassador, said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last month. “It may not have a long list of what we call deliverables but it will enable our cooperation to deliver much more in the future.”

Hu’s 2003-2013 tenure as China’s president was marked by formal meetings with Bush and Obama and few opportunities for unscripted talk. The California meeting hearkens back to the era of Jiang Zemin, who met Bush at his Texas ranch in October 2002 and was known for a less stilted style than Hu, his successor as Chinese leader.

Jiang recited part of the Gettysburg Address in a 2000 “60 Minutes” interview and crooned Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” at a meeting in the Philippines in 1996.

“Especially in a non-democratic country like China, the leader’s personal investment in good relations with the U.S. is one of the greatest diplomatic assets we can have,” Susan Shirk, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, who was responsible for China affairs at the U.S. State Department from 1997 to 2000, said in an e-mail.

Xi said last week in a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in Beijing that China wants a “new type of great power relationship” with the U.S. Other Chinese officials including General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, repeated the phrase.

:: Før topmødet i USA har Xi Jinping været på rundtur i Sydamerika, og Xinhua har temaside og lavet grafikken, som du kan se øverst her i artiklen

Skribent

Hurtige klik fra Kina af Kim Rathcke Jensen. Jeg er journalist og BA i kinesisk. Jeg bor i Beijing, hvor jeg arbejder som Politikens korrespondent i Kina og Asien.

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