President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet for a full day of bilateral consultations on Nov. 12. Many observers have set the goal as maximizing “win-win” cooperation and “managing” areas of disagreement. Perhaps this is realistic, and indeed these should be among their priorities. But as important as these achievements would be, if that’s all they achieve, it will have been a wasted opportunity.
The value of such intensive meetings, begun last June when they met for two days in California, is the opportunity for each leader to understand the forces driving his counterpart — his aspirations and hopes as well as his concerns and the pressures he faces.
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