Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Xi to receive full state welcome for US visit

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Barack Obama will offer Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a full state welcome at the White House on Friday next week, amid deep and growing tensions between the top economic and political powers.

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan (彭麗媛), a Chinese folk singing superstar, “at an official state dinner on the evening of September 25,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The prestigious welcome comes after Obama made a similar trip to China in November last year.

Xi is seen as one of the most powerful Chinese leaders in decades, but his vision of creating a “Chinese dream” and returning the country to great power status has met economic headwinds.

After decades of breakneck growth, the Chinese economy is weakening, creating a worldwide ripple effect, from slower trade volumes to skittishness on global equity and commodity markets.

The visit will be an opportunity to “expand US-China cooperation” and “address areas of disagreement constructively,” said Earnest, in a nod to problems ranging from cyberattacks to Beijing’s controversial maritime claims.

Ahead of the visit, Obama has warned that the scale of cyberattacks from China was “not acceptable,” and officials have floated the idea of sanctions.

China could “choose to make this an area of competition,” Obama said, but he issued a stern warning: “I guarantee you, we will win if we have to.”

Both the US and China have developed vast cybersecurity and intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Beijing has been blamed for a recent breach of US federal government personnel files that left millions of officials exposed.

The White House is also deeply concerned by a series of Chinese claims to disputed territories in the South and East China seas.

A Chinese admiral this week claimed that the entire South China Sea belongs to China, because it has China in the name.

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