Obama-Xi Meeting: Lowering Expectations? | Wilson Center

Obama-Xi Meeting: Lowering Expectations?

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Podcast (Audio only)

The Takeaways:

1. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit was the first international meeting hosted by General Secretary Xi Jinping. He was expected to use the platform to underscore China’s status as a global power and regional leader.

2. The governments of China and Japan signed a four-point agreement on how to manage the bilateral relationship, which paved the way for a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and General Secretary Xi. The agreement included language on territorial disputes in the East China Sea, with both side agreeing that “different views” exist over the status of the islands.

3. The APEC Summit affords General Secretary Xi an opportunity to recast China as a reliable and flexible partner after nearly 5 years in which China’s behavior in the Western Pacific has been viewed as increasingly coercive by China’s Asian neighbors and by the United States.

4. While both China and the U.S. used the APEC Summit to push their own competing free trade initiatives—the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) respectively—the summit is also an opportunity to strengthen U.S.-China cooperation. Elevating areas of potential agreement such as a Bilateral Investment Treaty or capping carbon emissions would benefit both countries and be considered a diplomatic victory for both General Secretary Xi and President Obama.



  • Robert Daly

    Director, Kissinger Institute on China and the United States
  • Yoichiro Sato

    professor, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University College of Asia Pacific Studies
  • Zheng Wang

    Global Fellow
    Professor, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Sandy Pho

    Senior Associate