BEIJING (Reuters) - Senior Chinese and U.S. officials gathered in the Chinese capital on Monday for their second Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss the direction of ties between the two global powers.
Both sides want to ease tensions after a bumpy start to the year. Here is a timeline of major dates in relations this year:
January 12 - Google threatens to pull out of China over censorship and hacking attacks from within the country.
January 21 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers speech calling for Internet freedoms, names China as a country that has stepped up censorship of the web.
January 29 - Obama administration notifies U.S. Congress of proposed arms sales to Taiwan worth $6.4 billion. China condemns the sales to the island, which it considers its territory, and threatens sanctions on companies involved.
February 17 - U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz visits Hong Hong, the self-administered territory under Chinese rule, despite a Chinese pledge to curtail military exchanges with the United States after its announced arms sales to Taiwan.
February 18 - Obama meets exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama at the White House. China reviles the Dalai Lama as a separatist for advocating self-rule for his homeland and condemns the meeting.
March 2-4 - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Jeffrey Bader, Senior Director for the U.S. National Security Council for Asian Affairs, visit Beijing for talks, seeking to ease tensions.
March 15 - One hundred and thirty members of U.S. Congress issue a letter demanding more pressure on China to let its yuan currency appreciate. The next day, a bipartisan bill on the issue goes before the Senate.
March 22 - Google shuts its China-based search service Google.cn and begins redirecting mainland Web searchers to a portal in Hong Kong. China criticizes Google but does not entirely shut off the Hong Kong site.
March 31 - China agrees to serious negotiations with Washington and other Western powers about proposed new U.N. Security Council-backed sanctions on Iran after months of stressing its reluctance to back sanctions. China has the power to veto any Security Council resolution.
April 1 - China says Hu will attend a summit on nuclear security in Washington, adding to signs that tensions between the two nations are ebbing.
April 3 - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he is delaying an April 15 report on whether China manipulates its currency but vows to press for a more flexible Chinese currency exchange rate policy.
April 8 - Geithner briefly visits Beijing, holding talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
April 12-13 - Obama hosts a multi-nation nuclear security summit in Washington that is attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
April 15 - Hu attends “BRIC” summit in Brazil, bringing together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China for their second such meeting.
May 3-7 - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visits China, his country’s main backer.
May 13-14 - The United States and China resume a formal bilateral dialogue on human rights after a two-year hiatus.
May 16-26 - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke leads trade mission to Hong Kong, China and Indonesia, promoting deals with American companies in clean energy.
May 18 - China joins the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the U.S., in backing a draft Security Council resolution proposing expanded sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear activities.
May 20 - South Korea says it has found North Korea was responsible for torpedoing its warship, the Cheonan, on March 26, killing 46 sailors. The United States condemns the North over the sinking. Beijing does not openly criticize its neighbor.
May 23 - South Korea says it will taking the bombing case to the U.N. Security Council.
May 24-25 - Senior officials from the United States and China meet in Beijing for Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting to discuss broad economic, foreign policy and security concerns. The U.S. side to be led by Clinton and Geithner.
June 26-27 - Meeting of G20 leaders of major rich and developing economies scheduled in Toronto, Canada, giving Hu and Obama an opportunity to meet.
Later in the year — The two countries are preparing for their Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, a regular meeting that focuses on economic ties. Last year’s was held in late October in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
November 2 - Mid-term elections for U.S. Congress. With economic concerns uppermost in many voters’ minds, trade and currency tensions with China may become a electoral factor.
November 11-12 - South Korea to host second summit for the year of the G20 group of major rich and developing economies, where Hu and Obama will have a further chance to meet.
November 13-14 - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, to be held in Yokohama, Japan, presents another opportunity for the two leaders to meet.
November-December - When Obama visited China in November 2009, Hu accepted his invitation to visit the United States in 2010. This would be a state visit separate from his attendance at the nuclear summit. No date has been set for the trip, but a time late in the year appears most likely.
Reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing; Jim Wolf, Doug Palmer and Paul Eckert in Washington; Ralph Jennings in Taipei; Editing by Nick Macfie