Worthwhile talks: Reasonable ties between China-U.S. are fostered

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It would appear that President Barack Obama's two-day meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping went as well as could be expected.

It was worth the time of both of them in terms of establishing reasonable personal relations between the leaders of what are the two single leading powers in the world now and for the foreseeable future.

There is the question of figuring out what they and their countries can do on the positive side, across the spectrum of economic, political and military issues. There is also the important matter of how they can keep any matter that risks leading to warmer combat from escalating in the future.

Such circumstances are almost inevitable, given America's current spread across the world on every continent, and China's growing presence in the world as well. Its latest venture is the launching of some people into space Tuesday as part of its expanding extraterrestrial program. Good relations between China and the United States are important, without getting into the question of whether they are between a rising and a declining power.

One already visible important outcome of greater understanding between the two is China's recent muscling of its client North Korea to play better with others, resulting in a resumption of some communication between North Korea and South Korea. China has in the past been reluctant to push North Korea, preferring stability in the Korean peninsula to a serious effort to stifle Pyongyang's nuclear arms ambitions. The two Koreas talking to each other is not revolutionary, but it does help prospects for peace in the region.

There appears so far to have been no breakthrough on China's cyberattacks and other technology thefts from the United States, although it has to have been a subject of discussion between the two presidents. There may have been some progress on reining in China's -- and America's -- carbon emissions.

Nothing has emerged so far that indicates progress on desensitizing the issues surrounding the various rock outcrops in the East and South China Seas between China and Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and others of its neighbors, nor on the touchy bilateral issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

China and Mr. Xi gained from the talks clear acknowledgement of China as an emerging great power. The United States and Mr. Obama gained an image of reasonableness and careful attention to a country that is very important to America in terms of trade, debt and competition and is likely to become even more so as the 21st century proceeds. That made the time together worthwhile.

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