The threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea was another issue well chewed, but with the two presidents restating known positions. Indeed, when the political fluff and the diplomatic niceties were brushed aside, most of the other conversations appeared to be reiteration of previously assumed positions.
Thus, the fate of Taiwan and US arms sales to the Taiwanese government remained a contentious issue. So did Chinese claims to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and China’s clash with Japan over uninhabited islets called the Diaoyutais (釣魚台) in Taiwan and Senkakus in Japan.
Evidently left unresolved were proposals to coordinate actions against piracy at sea, fight transnational crime, undertake peacekeeping tasks, promote disaster relief, manage climate change and provide for space security. Plans to foster steady military-to-military relations to preclude miscalculation also got little attention.
Perhaps inadvertently, the location selected for the summit turned out to be a fitting choice. The posh estate where Xi and Obama met is just outside the town of Rancho Mirage.
Richard Halloran is a commentator in Hawaii.