Obama, Xi June meeting set in California

May 21, 2013 at 1:02 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next month in California for wide ranging talks, the White House said.

Their meeting, the first such since Xi became China's top leader, will be June 7-8 and the venue will be the Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Estate, in Rancho Mirage.

"President Obama and President Xi will hold in depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues," the announcement said. "They will review progress and challenges in U.S.-China relations over the past four years and discuss ways to enhance cooperation, while constructively managing our differences, in the years ahead."

The White House said national security adviser Tom Donilon will visit Beijing May 26-28 to prepare for the meeting.

The meeting will be held in the background of North Korea's growing belligerence and threats against the United States, South Korea and Japan. China is North Korea's closest ally and has been urged to help rein in the isolated country's nuclear program.

Xi, regarded as a reformer, became China's top leader in March under the Communist country's once-a-decade leadership change. His rise to power comes at a time of international concerns over China's growing military might and its aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Obama's policy pivot to the Asia-Pacific is not viewed favorably by China.

In his daily media briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, while answering a question about whether the expansion of U.S. influence is at the expense of China, said the U.S. engagement in Myanmar is in response to the meaningful steps in the right direction taken by that country.

"We are obviously very much engaged in Asia, and we have talked about the rebalancing and the pivot toward Asia that is very much a focus of the President's foreign policy," Carney said. "But engagement with Burma (Myanmar's former name) has to do with the specific actions taken and the meaningful steps taken in the right direction by the Burmese government."

Xi, during his trip, will also visit Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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