Opinion | As China enters the Lunar Year of the roaring Dragon, Xi rolls out good tidings and greetings
By Augustus K. Yeung
The Spring Festival is the largest human activity on earth in which all Chinese nationals on mainland China, in Taiwan, and many of their Asian neighbors and friends celebrate. Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader creates, sends and celebrates good tidings and greetings – starting from the San Francisco summit with President Joe Biden. Both leaders jointly pushed for and succeeded in their trust-building, benefiting border neighbors in Southeast Asia, notably Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
The San Francisco summit was the result of a totality of great efforts from both the U.S. and the Chinese, healing old wounds, mending fences and establishing new ties, reaching to and rippling from then "hateful", fateful and now cordial summit meeting and beyond.
What motivates Xi and Biden to attend the summit meeting? How important is it that the two world leaders meet and exceed public expectations?
In the summit, Xi entrusts future of China-U.S. ties to people…
For Xi, the San Francisco summit started with a question, "How to steer the giant ship of China-U.S. relations clear of hidden rocks and shoals, navigate it through storms and waves without getting disoriented, losing steam or even having a collision?
In the process of seeking an answer, his American experience in San Francisco from 38 years ago – when he first visited the golden state – once again provided him with enlightenment.
"It is the convergence of many streams of goodwill and friendship that has created a strong current surging across the vast Pacific Ocean; it's the reaching out to each other – by our peoples that has time and again brought China-U.S. relations from a low ebb back onto the right track," Xi said in the speech at the welcome dinner, according to Xinhua.
Before meeting President Biden, Xi was greeted by Gavin Newsom, governor of California, after arriving at San Francisco International Airport in the United States. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was among those who welcomed Xi at the airport.
For now, Beijing and Washington are making detailed plans for official contacts and collaboration.
On the U.S. side, Biden is the mastermind, who has had the presidential elections in mind.
Xi sends New Year's greetings to Vietnam – after Philippines, Vietnam agree to cooperate on disputed water as Marcos visits Hanoi.
President Xi sent New Year's greetings to Vietnam…
The Philippines and Vietnam signed an agreement – on the day the ASEAN foreign ministers were having a meeting in Laos – during Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s visit to Hanoi.
Why was he there? "Vietnam remains the sole strategic partner of the Philippines in the ASEAN region," Marcos said during a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Vo Van Thuong, referring to the regional grouping of Southeast Asian nations.
Note: Several countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam, are locked in maritime disputes with China over its claims of sovereignty. Only high-seas faceoffs between Chinese and Philippine ships have intensified over the past year in the contested waters, fueling fears of a wider conflict.
The Philippines and Vietnam agreed to increase coordination on maritime issues and work to promote trust and confidence, the Philippine government said in a statement.
They did not release details about what actions they would take under the agreement. It's apparent that Marcos was there to save his face, now that he is the odd man out in ASEAN, especially after U.S. and China have agreed on the San Francisco consensus.
The Chinese leader sends out Lunar New Year's greetings to Vietnam, reflecting its great strategic importance in the region.
Singapore's visa-free entry policy boosts tourism.
It's heartening to see Singapore will implement a reciprocal visa-free policy for Chinese travelers soon, said tourism industry insiders who believe the move will bring mutual benefits to the development of tourism in the two counties.
China announced (July 26) the resumption of unilateral visa-free entry to people from Singapore holding ordinary passports…The policy was suspended in 2022 due to COVID-19.
Online travel agency Trip.com Group said that as of 1 pm on Dec. 7 – one hour after the news was revealed – searches for flights and hotels in Singapore surged by 90 percent and 50 percent respectively on its platform.
Xiao Peng, an analyst from travel portal Qunar, said that Malaysia announced a visa-free policy for Chinese people holding ordinary passports for up to 30 days from Dec.1 and with the future implementation of Singapore visa-free policy, Chinese travelers can lengthen their single outbound trip from three days to five or six days.
He added that the two destinations will be top choices for Chinese people to spend their Spring Festival holiday – which falls around mid-February – because of their warmer climates.
According to the China Tourism Academy, overseas destinations in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Asia have received the most Chinese travelers in the first half of the year, among which Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia remain the top choices. (Source: China Daily)
As China rises peacefully, and the friendly dragon roars, these tourist-friendly policies will spur international travel.
With the pivotal relationship between Xi and Biden renewed and strengthened, the San Francisco summit may now be seen as the starter, stabilizer and trigger that sends its ripple effects from Washington to the Asia-Pacific region, and hopefully it will travel to Europe and beyond.
The visa-free policies – between China and Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – are one such "side effects", thanks to the high-level officials from both the Chinese and American administrations. For example, it was heartwarming to see the presence of Janet Yellen on the tarmac when Gavin Newsom, the governor was there with his wife to personally welcome President Xi Jinping, who was arriving in California to attend the summit with his counterpart.
As the nation's health and wealth expand, and bilateral relations grow, this article predicts a bountiful, peaceful and prosperous Lunar New Year for China, the U.S. and the united ASEAN bloc.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
To contact the writer, please direct email: AugustusKYeung@ymail.com
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