Xi, Obama to review bilateral ties at summit
Climate change, the global economy and US strategy in the Asia-Pacific region will be the focus as US President Barack Obama embarks on a trip to China for the G20 summit this week, according to Obama’s senior advisers.
Obama will depart the US territory of Midway Island on Friday and arrive in Hangzhou the next day for the Sept 4-5 summit. He will discuss bilateral issues with President Xi Jinping, according to Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.
“I think we’ll be reviewing all of the issues that have been front and center in the US-China relationship for the last seven and a half years,” he told a press briefing on Monday.
According to Rhodes, the two countries have made progress on the global economy, climate change, the Iran nuclear deal and shared concern about the situation on the Korean Peninsula. However, they also have some differences on cybersecurity, economic practices, maritime issues and human rights.
“I think this is going to be the last occasion of this sort for the president to spend several hours with his Chinese counterpart and to review the state of US-China relations, and to try to see where we can make progress and work together on areas of common interest or bridging some of the differences that have been characteristic of the relationship,” he said.
“I think three big pieces of the presidency are going to be front and center here through climate change, the global economy and the Asia-Pacific region, and I think the schedule will illustrate that.”
It will be Obama’s third and possibly last trip to China as president. He also will visit Laos and attend the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Summit.
Brian Deese, White House senior advisor to the president, described the relationship between US and China on climate change as “one of the most significant drivers of global action over the last several years”. He described the China-US joint climate statement in September 2015 as laying out a road map for the Paris Agreement on the climate as well as demonstrating additional domestic action that both countries were taking.
“So we have now developed quite a significant record of working collaboratively with the Chinese on climate change,” Deese said. “And I anticipate that we will be able to once again demonstrate our two countries working together on this issue when the presidents meet in China.”
Wally Adeyemo, the White House deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs, praised G20 countries such as China, Japan and Canada for joining the US in taking steps to stimulate their economies with additional fiscal measures.
He expects countries to use fiscal policy, monetary policy and structural reform to advance global growth.
Protectionism has run strong in the US, with major presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. Trump has denied climate change, calling it a Chinese hoax.
I think we’ll be reviewing all of the issues that have been front and center ... for the last seven and a half years.” Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor