China media praises tone, outcome of Trump-Xi summit

China’s President Xi Jinping makes a speech during a business leaders event with US President Donald Trump at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017. (AFP/Jim Watson)
Updated 10 November 2017
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China media praises tone, outcome of Trump-Xi summit

BEIJING: Chinese state media on Friday praised the tone and outcome of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, saying he and Chinese President Xi Jinping were setting a new blueprint for handling relations and managing their differences.
Trump pressed China to do more to rein in North Korea on Thursday and said bilateral trade had been unfair to the United States, but praised Xi’s pledge that China would be more open to foreign firms. The two also oversaw the signing of about $250 billion in commercial deals.
“Although the differences that had been pestering bilateral ties have not instantly disappeared, the most important takeaway from their talks in Beijing has been the constructive approach to these issues the two leaders demonstrated,” the official China Daily said in an editorial.
“Both expressed their willingness to work with, instead of against, the other in dealing with the differences between their two countries, in particular over trade and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear program,” it added, using North Korea’s formal name.
China lavished attention on Trump and his wife Melania during their visit, with Xi personally chaperoning them on a tour of the Forbidden City, part of what the Chinese government referred to as a “state visit plus.”
Trump came to China pledging to ask Xi to play a bigger role in reining on North Korea, whose repeated nuclear and missile tests have angered both Washington and Beijing.
Xi, at least in public, went no further than reiterating China’s determination to achieve denuclearization through talks.
“China has tried its utmost, even at the sacrifice of Sino-North Korean relations,” influential tabloid the Global Times wrote in its editorial.
“Trump has gradually learned that Beijing is indeed making selfless contributions to promoting the denuclearization of the peninsula. He can’t demand more.”
China has repeatedly said it is committed to enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea, which does some 90 percent of its trade with China, but that more efforts need to be made to get everyone back to the negotiating table.
Su Xiaohui of the Foreign Ministry think-tank, the China Institute of International Studies, wrote in a front page commentary of the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily that Sino-US cooperation was the only correct choice for both countries. “A new blueprint for China-US relations is gradually unfolding,” Su wrote.


What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

Updated 15 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

  • Mermin shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news
  • The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations

The First Amendment ideal of an independent press allows American journalists to present critical perspectives on government policies and actions; but are the media independent of government in practice? Here Jonathan Mermin demonstrates that when it comes to military intervention, journalists over the past two decades have let the government itself set the terms and boundaries of foreign policy debate in the news.

Analyzing newspaper and television reporting of US intervention in Grenada and Panama, the bombing of Libya, the Gulf War, and US actions in Somalia and Haiti, he shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news. 

Journalists often criticize the execution of US policy, but fail to offer critical analysis of the policy itself if actors inside the government have not challenged it. Mermin ultimately offers concrete evidence of outside-Washington perspectives that could have been reported in specific cases, and explains how the press could increase its independence of Washington in reporting foreign policy news. 

The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations, based on the observation that bipartisan support for US intervention is often best interpreted as a political phenomenon, not as evidence of the wisdom of US policy. Journalists should remember that domestic political factors often influence foreign policy debate. The media, Mermin argues, should not see a Washington consensus as justification for downplaying critical perspectives.