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Analysis of Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting New York to attend the UN general assembly after having arrived in the US last week on his first state visit. Xi and President Barack Obama discussed a range of issues.

The summit talks focused mainly on two issues. One was the cyber-security problem. The leaders managed to reach a certain amount of agreement.

Obama said they had agreed that that neither the US nor the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.

Xi said confrontation and friction are not the right choice for either country, and that China and the United States found common ground in the working-level meeting on cyber crime

The two agreed to launch a ministerial-level system to discuss fighting electronic crimes. Obama said the question now is whether words will be followed by actions.

Ke Long, a senior fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute, commented that the US takes the problem of cyber-security very seriously, but China usually wants to get secret information from the United States or European countries for military purposes. He doubts that the two sides reached agreement, but thinks their dialogue enabled them to reach a degree of consensus on problem, and that the dialogue can continue at ministerial level.

The second hot topic at the summit was Chinese activity in the South China Sea. The country is locked in sovereignty disputes over islands there with the Philippines, Vietnam and other parties. Experts say it is building three airstrips on the islands.

After their meeting, the two leaders remained far apart. Ke said nationalism in China is behind this issue, especially from people in the military who want the country to have very strong strategies on an international level. He thinks this will make it difficult for Xi to deal with the United States. He believes the most effective solution is through dialogue, not armed force.

On the future of the relationship between the US and China, Ke says Beijing has no concerns about the Obama administration, but it is worried about what will happen after Obama steps down in January 2017. He thinks it is possible that the Republican Party can take power, and in this case, China will need to find more supporters in Congress, the House and the Republican Party. He believes the first step for Xi will be to create a new relationship between the two big countries, or a G2 relationship, as Xi terms it.

Ke says the summit won't resolve all the problems between the United States and China, but it's important to establish a framework for dialogue.

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