BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday that he looks forward to a “profound exchange of views” with Barack Obama when the two meet for a summit in Washington next week.
Xi’s first formal state visit to the U.S. is being closely scrutinized for signs that the world’s two largest economies can overcome differences and cooperate on global issues. Among major sources of friction are hacking attacks on the U.S. said to be directed by Beijing and China’s moves to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Xi said he looks forward to discussing “major issues of mutual concern” with Obama, but didn’t mention any specific issues in his remarks at a U.S.-China business dialogue.
“I place great importance on this visit and am looking forward to this trip abroad, looking forward to a profound exchange of views with President Obama,” Xi said, adding that he was also anticipating having “broad contact with Americans from all walks of life.”
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“I also hope and believe that with our joint efforts my visit will achieve the effect of deepening understanding and friendship between our two peoples and attaining new developments,” Xi said.
Xi and Obama are to meet in Washington on Sept. 25. Xi also is scheduled to visit Seattle and New York, where he is to address the U.N. General Assembly.
The two leaders are expected to discuss trade, North Korea’s nuclear program and Iran, among other issues. While the two sides are not expected to make major breakthroughs on some of the thorniest issues between them, there may be conciliatory gestures such as a restart of dialogue on cybersecurity and a pact on avoiding unintended incidents between military aircraft.
Chinese officials say they’re looking for signs that the two countries are working toward a “new model of major state relations” — a concept floated by Xi at an informal California summit with Obama in 2013. Beijing sees that as a way of establishing parity with the U.S. and avoiding conflict, although American officials see it as having little substance and rarely mention it at all.