Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) will confer with US President Barack Obama next month in California, months earlier than expected, as both sides seek to stem a drift in relations, troubled by issues from cyberspying to North Korea.
The June 7 and June 8 meeting at a retreat southeast of Los Angeles, announced on Monday by the White House, underlines the importance of the relationship between the countries as they work out ways for the US-led world order to make room for a China that is fast accruing power.
Xi has said China wants its rise to be peaceful, but that Beijing will not compromise on issues of sovereignty — a stance that has aggravated disputes over contested East and South China Seas islands with several countries, including Japan and the Philippines.
Among the other pressing items on the presidents’ agenda: the spotty global economic recovery, US allegations of persistent Chinese cyberattacks and espionage and Washington’s desire for China to do more in efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.
Washington has also criticized Beijing, along with Russia, for blocking tougher measures aimed at ending the bloodshed in Syria.
China has lashed out at the US military’s strengthening of its presence in Asia, US support for Japan in its island dispute and US questioning of China’s human rights record.
The meeting will be “of great significance to strengthening strategic communications, increasing strategic mutual trust ... properly handling disputes, developing cooperative relations and building a new type of big-power relationship,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) said.