China's Xi Jinping meets with Obama: Will it be a 'Nixon goes to China' moment?(Read article summary)
Some hope that it could be.
Jae C. Hong/AP
PresidentÂ ObamaÂ and Chinaâ€™s PresidentÂ Xi JinpingÂ will meet for at least six hoursÂ this weekend in a rare, informal tĂŞte-a-tĂŞte that some say could reshape the relationship between the two world powers.
Not since 1972, when Nixon went to China, have leaders from China and the US sat down for more than a carefully scripted visit lasting more than an hour or so. And Asia-watchers are hoping this unscripted, two-day Sino-US summit ( allowing for an extended six-hour meeting) will have equally dramatic consequences.
â€śA second great breakthrough in the relationship has become a Holy Grail,â€ť Orville Schell, head of the Asia Societyâ€™s Center for US-China Relations in New York, told the Monitor''s Beijing bureau chief, â€śOf course itâ€™s hard to do, but thatâ€™s their aspiration.â€ť
The Monitor's Peter Ford points out that the second meeting for the two leaders (when Xi was still China's vice president he met with Obama briefly) comes at key time for the US and China:
Strategic trust between the worldâ€™s top two economies is at a dangerously low level, worn away recently in a number of ways: Washington has accused Beijing of massive commercial cyberespionage; China is suspicious that President Obamaâ€™s military and diplomatic â€śpivot to Asiaâ€ť is a bid to contain the Asian giantâ€™s rise; China has pressed territorial claims and clashed with US allies such as Japan and the Philippines.
Still,Â writes the Monitor's Howard LeFranchi in Washington, not everyone is expecting immediate change, particularly if such urgent issues as cybersecurity are not substantially addressed:
Even though the two leaders are expected to discuss everything from military and corporate cybersecurity toÂ North Korea, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and US-China trade, the summitâ€™s emphasis on building their personal relationship leaves doubters unimpressed.
â€śIf we actually saw a substantial agreement on countering cyberthreats â€¦ or saw the Chinese throttle back on territorial claims, that would be significant,â€ť says Dean Cheng, a research fellow in Chinese political and security affairs at theÂ Heritage Foundation in Washington.
For the rest of the story onÂ the "great new power relationship" between China and the US, click here.