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Obama-Xi Palm Springs Summit: Cyber Security, North Korea, And Syria On US-China Agenda

Obama-Xi Palm Springs summit Cyber security, North Korea, and Syria on US-China agenda

Barack Obama and the new Chinese president Xi Jinping will meet at a Californian ranch on Friday and Saturday for an unprecedented “informal” summit designed to reset relations at a critical juncture in the modern US-China relationship. The following are the key issues that are expected to top the agenda:

CYBER SECURITY – On the American side, this is fast becoming a top-tier issue after an avalanche of US allegations accusing China of involvement in a wave of attacks on US businesses, media organisations and government institutions. Last week the Washington Post obtained a report claiming Chinese hackers had even compromised designs for some of the most important US weapons systems and Chuck Hagel, the US defense secretary, warned that continued attacks threatened “dangerous outcomes”.

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SYRIA – Mr Obama will touch on US frustrations over China’s refusal to back UN resolutions on Syria. China has called on the international community to play an “active and constructive role” in resolving the Syrian crisis and has condemned EU moves to end an arms embargo restriction on the supply of weapons to opposition groups. Washington seems unlikely to make much headway on Syria. In an interview with Foreign Policy last week, China’s new US ambassador suggested Beijing was unlikely to change its position.

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CLIMATE CHANGE – Climate change is perhaps one of the most daunting issues on the Obama-Xi agenda but analysts suggest it also offers one of the best opportunities for a public show of unity between the world’s top two carbon emitters. In his 2013 State of the Union speech Barack Obama praised China for “going all-in on clean energy” and urged his country to act against climate change “before it’s too late”.

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