U.S. President Barack Obama announced at the APEC meeting Monday that both the U.S. and China would start granting visas to each other’s citizens that would be valid for up to a decade. But issues as human rights and trade lurked just under the surface, reflecting the tough road ahead for the two economic powers as Obama began a weeklong trip to the region.
The visa announcement came just after Obama’s arrival in Beijing. The mutual visa grant came as a down-payment on closer ties, allowing the president to portray the U.S. and China as partnering in good faith.
The 10-year visa
Business and short-term tourist visas will be valid for 10 years, while student and cultural exchange visas will last for five. Currently, such visas expire after just one year.
Even so, the actual benefits may be modest. The visa arrangement doesn’t increase how long an American can remain in China or vice-versa. Rather, the new visa agreement determines how long the visa can be used to enter the country.
The same restrictions remain on who is eligible for a U.S. visa, including an in-person interview requirement that can be arduous for those who don’t live near a U.S. consulate.
The White House said it hoped the deal would lure more Chinese traveler — as well as billions of dollars — into the U.S. economy. U.S. officials said it could drive up demand, which in turn would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. without sacrificing national security.
About 100 million Chinese traveled last year, but less than 2 percent of those came to the U.S. The U.S. plans to start issuing the new visas Wednesday, and officials said the agreement had been in the works for months.
Obama: The U.S. wants China to succeed
Throughout Obama’s first day in China, there were abundant reminders of the stark differences that have left the world’s two largest economies eyeing each other warily from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean.
President Obama vowed that if the U.S. and China could work together, the entire world stood to benefit.
“America’s a Pacific power, and we are leading to promote shared security and shared economic growth in this century just as we did in the last,” Obama said.
The president sought to dispel the notion that America’s interest in Asia should be a cause for concern for China’s leaders. He insisted that “one country’s prosperity doesn’t have to come at the expense of the other.”
“We want China to do well,” Obama said. “We compete for business, but we also seek to cooperate on a broad range of challenges and shared opportunities.”
This report was compiled with information from the Associated Press.
Is Obama committed to a rebalance with Asia?
The much anticipated meeting between President Barack Obama with China’s President Xi Jinping Tuesday will be their fourth meeting since last year’s informal gathering at the Sunnylands estate in California. While there, President Xi called for “a new model of great power relations” where both sides expressed respect for each others “cores interests.” However, what exactly that concept means to both Beijing and Washington has yet to be fleshed out. CCTV America’s Nathan King reports the story.
Is Obama committed to a rebalance with Asia?Critical agreements between China and the U.S. have yet to be negotiated in full and there are growing disagreements between the two largest economies. The bigger issues will dominate discussions between President Xi Jinping and President Obama when they meet for a summit on Wednesday. Nathan King reports.
Climate change is a core area for U.S. and China, as both are leading emitters and increasingly trying to develop a framework for cutting greenhouse gases and enhance clean technology.
Both powers also want to seal the deal on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, now just days away from a deadline. Meanwhile, there are also signs of increasing cooperation on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile program, the future of Afghanistan, and the spread of Ebola.
Despite all this, both powers will push alternative visions of free trade areas in the Asia-Pacific this week. There are also questions in China as to whether U.S. policy in the region is just a veiled attempt at containing China’s rise.
Cybersecurity, and the tit-for-tat allegations of cyberspying have done little to inspire confidence. While military-to-military ties have been growing between the two nations, so have suspicions. In Beijing, criticism of U.S. surveillance of China’s coasts; in Washington, suspicion of China’s activities in the East and South China seas
As the U.S. president prepared to depart for Beijing, his top officials gave speeches that emphasized the importance of the relationship with China but did not give much detail. That was left to the think-tanks in Washington to debate what this meeting will mean and what may be achieved.
“Everything should be on the table,” said Charles Freeman of the Brookings Institution. “There will be some conversation about cyber, but I think they will both agree or disagree as again, and things U.S. concern about like North Korea and Iran, probably some discussion but not much conclusion.”
Agreeing to disagree on major issues may be progress, but many analysts believe that the fundamental shift in how Washington and Beijing perceive each other has yet to happen.
“What we have to overcome is old habit,” said Wing Thye Woo of the University of California. “For example, to get over a zero-sum game. Because both sides recognize a new Cold War will bring both of us a big cost, and so it’s a lot more to be gotten by working together.”
Dali Yang discusses tensions between US, China
The U.S. and China announced an agreement to extend visa periods for businessmen, tourists and students. For more on this, CCTV America spoke to Dali Yang. He’s a Political Science professor at the University of Chicago.
Dali Yang discusses tensions between US, ChinaThe U.S. and China announced an agreement to extend visa periods for businessmen, tourists and students. For more on this, CCTV America spoke to Dali Yang. He's a Political Science professor at the University of Chicago.
Japanese PM to address diplomatic, economic issues at APEC
After almost two years in office, it is safe to say that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is getting the highest attention in all of his diplomatic trips. CCTV America’s Terrence Terashima had this report from Tokyo.
Japanese PM to address diplomatic, economic issues at APECPresident Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, ahead of the APEC Leaders' Meeting. It's the first time they've met following territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Foreign ministers from both sides reached a four-point agreement last week. Xi said China hopes Japan continues to follow the path of peaceful development and adopts prudent military and security policies. CCTV's Terrence Terashima reports.
The prime minister is expected to address a number of issues during his attendance at this year’s APEC meeting. However, the center of Japanese media’s focus remains on the bilateral summit with President Xi Jinping.
Internally, the prime minister needs to make a number of important political decisions while expected to ease tensions on disputes in the East China Sea. Some form of advancement is very much expected from the Sino-Japan summit.
Although the two countries struck a four-point accord last week as a foothold to the Abe-Xi summit, many Japanese don’t expect immediate progress. Experts said the accord has left room for interpretations, but it set a base to start the defrosting process between Tokyo and Beijing.
Derek Scissors discusses Asia’s economic issues
President Barack Obama is in Beijing is fresh off a stinging round of losses for his Democratic party in national elections. Now the opposition party is in control of Congress.
For more on these losses, as well as what economic issues Asia must tackle, CCTV America interviewed Derek Scissors. He’s a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Derek Scissors discusses Asia\'s economic issuesPresident Barack Obama is in Beijing fresh off a stinging round of losses for his Democratic party in national elections. The opposition party is now in control of Congress. Derek Scissors, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute discusses the challenges facing Obama.
‘Connectivity’ is the new buzzword for APEC leaders
The APEC CEO meeting has wrapped up in Beijing, with major topics like connectivity dominating the agenda. CCTV America’s Han Peng reported the story from Beijing.
Connectivity is the new buzzword for APEC leadersThe APEC CEO Summit has wrapped up in Beijing. CCTV's Han Peng has more on the connectivity of countries in the region.
In many emerging APEC economies like Thailand, people have been coping for years with old and fickle transportation systems. Improving connectivity between their homes and distant places has been a long awaited dream.
“Once we do that, just imagine the economic power that will be unleashed as the rest of the world becomes connected,” said Greg Boyce, chairman and CEO of Peabody Energy. “China is a perfect example of what happens: over the last ten years, 600 million people have been moved up.”
However, connectivity does not just mean laying links for traffic. Business delegates are also discussing more policies that would take down the current barriers in overseas investment.
“It’s very difficult to invest other partners in APEC, because of so many differences and difficulties like traffic, like trading, like regulations in investment. It’s really necessary to build much easier connections,” said Liang Xinjuan, CEO of the Fosun Investment Company.
Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wang Jinzhem, said that the CEO summit played a key role in bringing together the private sector and the government officials across the APEC region to collaborate on connecting the region together.
“We have noticed that there has been some uneven development in the region. There are both advanced economies and developing economies,” said Jinzhem. “For some developing countries, infrastructure isn’t very good. China is also negotiating with some members on how to improve. Roads and infrastructures will lead people from the mountainous, remote areas to the market.”
China is now building up an Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to fund this grand project that once completed could help reshape the lives of billions of people in APEC economies for generations to come.
Phillip Yin talked about the significance of APEC to China and US
APEC meetings also focused on diplomatic, economic and trade relations between the U.S. and China. For more on that, CCTV America talked with Biz Asia America’s Phillip Yin.