WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold their first meeting since Xi became president in March when they sit down for a June 7-8 summit in Rancho Mirage, California, the White House announced on Monday.
The two leaders are likely to discuss ways to apply pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program after a period of bellicose rhetoric and threats from Pyongyang.
The United States also has concerns about cyber attacks it says are emanating from China. Washington would also like China to allow its currency to rise against the dollar to improve U.S. trade.
American concerns about tensions in the South China Sea due to conflicting territorial claims are also a possible topic of discussion.
“President Obama and President Xi will hold in-depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues,” the White House said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
The meeting will be the first between the two leaders since Xi took over as China’s president in March.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was willing to work with the United States to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in relations, which he said were “at a new historical period”.
“Of course, some differences exist between China and the United States, which require proper and active management by both sides,” Hong said. “This year, Sino-U.S. relations have got off to a good start and are facing an important opportunity for development.”
Hong said the two leaders would have “comprehensive and in-depth discussions” on a range of issues.
The leaders will meet at Sunnylands, a 200-acre (80-hectare) estate on Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, California. Sunnylands is the former estate of the late philanthropist Walter Annenberg, who frequently hosted President Ronald Reagan there.
The fact that they will devote two days to the talks shows an intent by the two leaders to build a closer relationship. White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will travel to Beijing to meet Chinese officials May 26-28 to prepare for the Xi visit.
As part of his trip to the Americas, Xi will also make state visits to Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica, China’s Foreign Ministry said.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland in Washington; Additional reporting by Adam Jourdan in Shanghai and Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Editing by Eric Beech and Robert Birsel