WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, at odds over China’s increasing assertiveness in Asia and issues such as cyberspying, plan a followup to their informal summit in California last year after November’s APEC summit in Beijing.
Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group will meet in Beijing on Nov. 10 and 11. Obama plans to stay in China for a bilateral meeting with Xi on Nov. 12 before heading on for an East Asia summit in Myanmar and a G20 meeting in Australia.
Robert Wang, the senior U.S. State Department official responsible for APEC, said details of Obama’s meeting with Xi, including the venue, were still under discussion, but the U.S. side believed the informality of their summit at a desert getaway in Sunnylands last June had been “an effective way of doing things.”
“The Chinese seem to be receptive to that, but exactly what they have planned, we don’t really know at this stage whether it’ll be Beijing, whether it’ll be outside somewhere else. But that’s something I think that the Chinese are discussing with us,” he told a news briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
Wang said the talks would look at expanding areas of cooperation, while seeking to manage differences.
“We have quite a number of issues between U.S. and China, and so far I think we’ve been able to manage them,” he said.
Among such differences is over interpretation of Xi’s call at Sunnylands for “a new model of big country relations” based on mutual respect and a avoidance of conflict.
“That’s a term that the Chinese came up with, not the U.S.,” Wang said. “So I’m not sure whether we subscribe completely to the exact interpretation of that. It’s something that Xi Jinping had sort of discussed several times, announced several times. That’s what he wants.”
The United States and China have strong economic and commercial ties but are at odds over China’s pressing of territorial claims in East Asia, where Washington has several treaty allies, and over issues such as cyberspying.
The two countries exchanged barbs over a jet intercept of a U.S. navy patrol plane by a Chinese aircraft last week, with the United States saying the Chinese jet came within 10 m (33 ft) of its plane over the South China Sea.
At Sunnylands, the two countries agreed to work together to try to resolve disputes over cyber security, but relations in this area have since worsened.
In May, the United States charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets. China showed its anger over the allegations by shutting down a bilateral working group on cyber security.
On Thursday, China said the United States should cut back on, or even stop, its close surveillance if it seriously sought to repair damaged bilateral ties.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Ken Wills