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Obama to host China's president on September 25

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September 16
10:51 PM 2015

President Barack Obama is hosting his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for an official state visit next week.

state dinner will be held at the White House on September 25 to welcome Xi, who will be accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, a Chinese folk singing superstar.

The state visit, which comes nearly a year after Obama made a similar trip to China, takes place amid a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy.  

China has enjoyed decades of stellar growth, until recently, when its economy began to lose steam. Its trade volumes have declined, indicating low demand both at home and abroad. Investors, worried over the global impact of the slowdown, limited their exposure to financial markets.

"Xi's visit will present an opportunity to expand US-China cooperation on a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual interest, while also enabling President Obama and President Xi to address areas of disagreement constructively," said White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest.

Those disagreements range from recent cyber attacks to China's maritime claims.

The cyber attacks, blamed on Beijing, breached federal government personnel files, leaving millions of US officials exposed. Obama condemned the cyber attacks, saying they were unacceptable.

"We have been quite clear that the United States does not engage in the kind of cyber activity that yields a significant financial benefit for American companies, and that's precisely the kind of behavior and activity that we've raised concerns about with regard to China," said Earnest.

Although Beijing has denied involvement in the cyber attacks, US officials are not ruling out imposing sanctions against China.

The Obama administration is also worried over Beijing's claims to the South and East China Sea. Despite opposition from neighboring countries, China has continued construction of structures in disputed zones, apart from sending fishing vessels and military equipment there.

Despite these differences, there are areas of potential agreement with China, including Iran's nuclear program. Earnest noted that China had been a constructive partner in efforts to build an international consensus around confronting Iran. "We even have some effective cooperation with China when it comes to containing the threat that is posed by North Korea and trying to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula," he added.

Another area where both parties could come into an agreement is bilateral trade.

Nearly a hundred CEOs wrote the US and Chinese presidents on Tuesday to push for a bilateral investment treaty. Among them were Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein.

The executives said an agreement would have an "immediate and tangible impact for both of our economies."

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