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  • Jul 11, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14am
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Chinese media picture Xi at home on world stage

Media keen to convince public their leader can handle foreign affairs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 6:34am

It may be too early to deduce whether Xi Jinping has established his global standing with the audience at home, but mainland media outlets said he had succeeded in telling the world of China's importance and impact on America's role in the Asia- Pacific.

Chinese leaders' summits with US presidents have often been perceived as a benchmark of their ability to handle foreign affairs.

Photos of a smiling Xi and Barack Obama after their first session of talks were carried widely by mainstream media websites.

Analysts said that was meant to convince the people that Xi felt confident chatting with Obama and was qualified to defend China's interests.

Media portals like Sina.com and Sohu.com highlighted Xi's confidence in establishing a long-term, stable relationship with the United States because Washington needed China's co-operation in its strategic "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific.

Many online reports in the West carried positive commentaries about Xi's background and speeches, saying his wife was equally as impressive as Michelle Obama.

Some said the US needed Xi - who recently indirectly warned North Korea not to ruin regional stability - to restart six-party talks on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Professor Zhou Qingan, who teaches public diplomacy and global communications at Tsinghua University, said the Chinese public had high expectations of their leader's overseas trips.

"The Chinese people hope that Xi will defend China's national interests during diplomatic occasions unswervingly, and [during the press briefing with President Obama], Xi did express himself in a frank manner," Zhou said.

In Taiwan, the official Central News Agency said the two leaders' deliberate avoidance of the Taiwan issue would have a direct impact on Taiwan's future relationship with the US.

"Taiwan will be ignored while Beijing and Washington build their 'new model' relationship so it is a must for Taipei to constantly remind the US not to harm Taiwan's interests," the agency quoted Professor Alexander Huang Chieh-cheng, of the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taipei, as saying.

Meanwhile, a Gallup poll conducted before Xi's US visit found that 55 per cent of Americans regarded China as an ally or a nation friendly to the US, while 40 per cent said it was either unfriendly or an enemy.

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