CNN’s Jaime FlorCruz Sums Up The Summit

Having lived and worked in China since 1971, Jaime FlorCruz, CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief, has a very unique perspective on all things China. Jaime studied Chinese history at Peking University from 1977 to 1981, and served as TIME Magazine’s Beijing correspondent and bureau chief from 1982 to 2000.

In the latest edition of Jaime’s China, a weekly column that he writes about Chinese society and politics, Jaime sums up the recent Summit between the leaders of the United States and China.

The article provides great perspective on the relationship between the United States and China and the different ways in which the two countries approach meetings like this, and is worth reading in its entirety. Jamie’s opening sentences, though, summed up the Summit very well:

Summits often produce nothing more than expectations. The meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao showed how different those expectations can be.

From the U.S. side there was the expectation of substantive “deliverables” – diplomatic jargon for real results. From the Chinese side, there was an expectation that, by going to Washington, its standing and status abroad would be improved.

How did the two countries do?

U.S. companies got $45 billion in new contracts for U.S. exports, including 200 Boeing aircrafts, to China, which the White House said will support some 235,000 American jobs. But, as Jaime points out, this will not be enough to solve the trade imbalance between the two countries. On the other deliverables, the U.S. did not get a guarantee that the Chinese currency would be allowed to appreciate. Nor did it get any public pledge on the release of imprisoned human rights activists or improvement in China’s human rights record.

The Chinese had a much simpler task. As noted in MTD’s recent post on the subject, China’s goals were for President Hu to be given the status and respect, the treatment due the leader of an important nation, and to change the minds of Americans about what is going on in China and why they should care about the country’s development.

From our vantage point in Beijing, it certainly appeared as though the U.S. went all out to give President Hu and China their just due. Whether any American minds were changed, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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