Sino-American California Summit


Recently I attended a presentation given by a Chinese government official regarding interpreting the Summit in California between President Obama and President Xi.  Normally I try to avoid making comments about politics in general but the presentation I attended gave such fascinating insights, from the Chinese perspective, that I felt compelled to write this blog.

This particular Chinese official had first-hand experience regarding the protocols of previous Summit meetings between Chinese and U.S. leaders.  Drawing on his depth and breadth of experience the speaker was able to provide the audience with a unique perspective.  In previous Summit’s between Chinese and U.S. leaders the duration would be no more than two hours and taking into account time spent by the translators, the actual time the leaders had for meaningful dialog was limited.  Also, previous Summit’s would be highly scripted and the talking points would be agreed in advance.  The California summit was the first meeting of the Chinese and U.S. leaders that had no fixed agenda and the leaders meet for 8 hours.  Also the meeting was informal and the leaders were casually dressed.  The format itself speaks volumes about the Summit.

The international media has already covered the topics that were, or were not, discussed so I don’t need to reiterate them here.  Indeed, I do not want to discuss any one issue in particular, rather I want to address on the broader relationship between China and the U.S. and how it affects people like me who are American and living and working in China.  The relationship of the leaders of nations affects the relationships of the citizens of nations.  I can’t help but feel that the positive Summit between President Obama and President Xi, and the positive press it got here in China, have in some way made my life in China a little easier.

The take away I got from the California Summit interpretation presentation I attended was that both leaders recognize that the world needs a robust Sino-American relationship.  Also, both leaders recognize that this is a historic moment for both of them personally.  While there are always disagreements between people and nations, I can’t help but feel the relationship between China and the U.S. is entering a new and positive phase.

The success of the California Summit reinforces my belief that I have made the right decision moving to China and working for a Chinese company.  Even though I can’t dismiss the challenges of living and working in China, I feel that the efforts of both leaders provide a positive example and hope for the future of Sino-American relations.  In my own way, I want to build on what President Obama and President Xi have accomplished in California and help forge stronger ties between two great nations.