After the Sino-US summit at Sunnylands on June 7-8, 2013, the Chinese idea of a “new type of great power relations” (xinxingdaguoguanxi, 新型大国关系) has, more than ever, attracted attention. During the summit Xi Jinping and Barack Obama emphasized cooperation for international peace and stability and jointly solving global problems. The shirt-sleeve diplomacy between them had some success in reaching agreement on issues pertaining to climate change and the North Korean nuclear threat. However, the meeting also exposed different views and conflicting national interests on a wide variety of issues, such as cyberespionage, arms sales to Taiwan, and maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Although the Chinese “new type of great power relations” stresses peace and cooperation based on equality, mutual benefit, and reciprocity,1 the divergent views and national interests that were exposed during the summit are indicative of serious obstacles along the new path. In fact, after the summit, the Snowden incident, the diverse approaches to resolving the Syrian civil war and North Korean nuclear threats, economic disputes, such as the reevaluation of the RMB, piracy, investment law, and a series of Chinese leaders’ speeches that explicitly reject Western political and social values and institutions have cast a dark shadow on future cooperation between the two superpowers.
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