ICC Note: As previously expected, talks between U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Xi have been covering a wide array of contentious issues. We hope that human rights and religious freedom in China have been among the topics discussed.
By Pamela Dockins
9/25/2015 China (VOA News)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday continue talks expected to be clouded by differences over alleged Chinese cyber spying, Beijing’s economic policies and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Vice President Joe Biden led the welcoming delegation as Xi’s plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews Thursday on the second leg of a week-long trip to the U.S. that began in Seattle, where the Chinese leader sought to reassure U.S. companies he is working to create a more favorable investment climate in his country.
Later, President Obama hosted Xi at a private working dinner, where White House aides said they would begin grappling with the main issues that divide their countries.
On Friday, Xi will be treated to full honors, including a 21-gun salute, a formal summit, a joint news conference and a black tie state dinner.
Though the talks will deal with a raft of uncomfortable topics, U.S. officials on Thursday highlighted an area of cooperation between the world’s two largest countries: climate change.
Xi on Friday will unveil a new cap and trade program meant to regulate China’s worst-in-the-world emissions, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
During Obama’s visit to Beijing last year, the two countries agreed to reduce climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, in what was seen as a landmark moment for the world’s two worst polluters.
China’s human rights record is another source of friction, and several rights groups are urging President Obama to not shy away from the issue during his meetings with President Xi.
“It’s a big and complicated relationship, and so there are a lot of topics vying for attention,” acknowledged Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “But we certainly think that the deterioration of the rights situation in China under Xi merits special attention.”