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Obama, Xi summit to set tone for new type of relations: expert


08:31, June 09, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Xinhua) -- As U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping kicks off their first summit in California, Jeffrey Bader, an expert with Brookings Institution, said Friday that he expects the meeting to set a tone for the two countries' relationship in the coming years, charting a "way forward."

In an interview with Xinhua, Bader, a former China policy adviser to Obama in the National Security Council, said in order to create a cooperative relationship, leaders at the top need to demonstrate their intention, "by taking specific actions that show people on both sides that you mean it."

"I think that will be what the two sides are looking to do" at the summit, which is taking place Friday to Saturday at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, said Bader.

Bader noted the offsite nature of this summit, held in sunny California and devoid of all the bells and whistles of a state visit in Washington, can provide an environment for "intensive, informal discussions rather than simply reading talking points."

"The meetings are set up like this so there will be very small number of participants. Even in larger meetings, there will be maybe five or six participants on each side," said Bader, noting Obama and Xi will probably have some "one on one" time.

"When you have that kind of setting, you can be more candid than you are when you have 20 people sitting behind you on both sides," said Bader, adding that candor is a necessary step if the two leaders want to form a friendly bond.

"My guess is they will talk about the way forward, not simply say 'we look forward to more cooperation with you, and we will have further discussions,'" said Bader, adding that some of their decisions can be implemented as early as in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue that occurs in July.

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