CSIS – AMTI Brief, Sept. 29, 2015


Xi in Washington: Outcomes Explained
Chinese president Xi Jinping landed in Seattle on September 22 for a weeklong trip to the United States that included his first state visit to Washington and an address to the United Nations in New York. In a joint press conference with President Barack Obama following a meeting at the White House, the Chinese leader raised eyebrows by insisting that Beijing does not intend to militarize the features it has artificially built up in the South China Sea. The two presidents also made announcements on cybersecurity and climate change cooperation, along with finalizing annexes to two military agreements. Observers were left with quite divergent views of the visit. Depending on one’s perspective, Xi’s trip was disappointingly heavy on symbolism and short on substance, or it surprised with important if nascent steps to reduce bilateral tensions and seek areas of cooperation.

In this feature, Bill Bishop, author of the popular Sinocism China Newsletter, and Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and director of the China Power Project at CSIS, offer their insights into the Chinese president’s visit. You can also explore recent analysis of the visit by experts Christopher Johnson, Xue Chen, and Richard Heydarian, and see how the latest AMTI feature helped frame the South China Sea policy debate in Washington ahead of Xi’s visit.


Featured Analysis


Xi’s Visit to Cool Down the South China Sea
by Xue ChenOn President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to the United States this week, the South China Sea might be low on his list of topics for discussion. Access for Chinese investment in the United States, coordination on monetary policies, and even climate change will likely be far higher on President Xi’s agenda.

The decades-old South China Sea disputes have risen to a boil in recent years, which from the Chinese perspective does not serve anyone’s interests. Beijing is busy fighting a slackening economy and intransigent bureaucracy at home, while also trying to sell its “One Belt, One Road” strategy in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile China sees other South China Sea claimants struggling to sustain their own economic momentum. The South China Sea disputes could hamper these efforts if it takes up too much of decision-makers’ energy. Read on…

Asia: All Eyes on the Obama-Xi Summit

by Richard Javad Heydarian

President Xi Jinping’s ongoing nine-day trip to the United States is his first state visit to the country. He is being greeted with a 21-gun salute and attendant formalities and honors, but he is no stranger to his hosts. In 2013, he held a special informal summit with President Barack Obama at Sunnylands estate in California. Historically, such meetings were reserved for statesmen from the United States’ closest and most loyal allies, such as Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi’s 2006 private meeting with George W. Bush in Graceland or British prime minister David Cameron’s sojourn with Obama in 2012. Read on…

Chris Johnson Previews Xi Jinping’s Visit

On last week’s CogitAsia Podcast, CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies Christopher Johnson looked ahead to President Xi’s visit and the state of U.S.-China relations, including how thorny issues like the South China Sea disputes and cybersecurity will be tackled. Listen to the excerpt on AMTI or the full podcast on CogitAsia and iTunesRead on…

Featured Imagery

Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. points to AMTI and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on September 17, 2015.


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