Washington’s reputation for getting things done has suffered so much lately that it seems as though Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking more efficient but less official channels to make his concerns heard. During his official state visit to the United States late last month, his first stop was not the White House but Seattle. There, he wooed top U.S. technology executivesand assured them that China was committed to cybersecurity and to fixing its slowing economy.
The order of Xi’s visits certainly raised eyebrows, but it was not altogether surprising. Between conflicts in the South China Sea, accusations of cyberattacks, and a deep history of differences over human rights, the United States and China have reached an impasse. Although Xi and Obama managed to eke out a cybersecurity pact at the summit’s end (albeit with questionable enforceability), the deal was only considered a great success because expectations for any sort of cooperation were almost nil.