The Xi-Obama Meeting at Yingtai
Chinese President Xi Jinping had a candid, relaxed, and informal meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the evening of November 11, 2014 at Yingtai, an island with ancient palace buildings within the Zhongnanhai compound. They discussed issues concerning Sino-US relations and other major global and regional issues of mutual concern. The two heads of state had a long, relaxed conversation while strolling at Yingtai. Xi told Obama about the history and anecdotes of Yingtai. The DNA of traditional Chinese culture is, in Xi's words, embedded in contemporary Chinese thinking and in the governance strategies of the Chinese government. Diverging national contexts of the two countries with regard to history, culture, development paths, and stages of development, he noted, underscore the importance of mutual understanding, mutual respect, and tolerance for differences in the search for common ground and lasting peace. In response Obama acknowledged that the talk had enabled him to gain a better insight into China's realities and the governance philosophy of the Chinese government and its leaders, and a better understanding of the aspirations of the Chinese people for national unity and stability. Debunking the notion that the United States seeks to contain China, he reiterated his willingness to have a candid dialogue with China so as to foster mutual understanding, and welcomed China as a constructive player in international affairs in the shared endeavor to address global challenges and promote peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The talk at Yingtai, a continuation of the opennecked informal summit at the Annenberg Retreat in California, represented another innovative diplomatic engagement at the most senior level between China and the United States. The event helped both sides foster mutual trust and better gauge each other's intentions at a strategic level, and further demonstrated the imperative for both governments to work towards a new model of major-country relationship.