The Debate

Obama and Xi Jinping to Hold First Meeting On June 7-8

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will travel to Beijing on May 26-28 ahead of the leaders’ meeting in California.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold their first official meetings since Xi assumed China's presidency on June 7-8 in California, the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) said on Monday.

“President Obama will meet with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on June 7-8 in California. The early June meeting will be President Obama’s first meeting with Xi Jinping since he became China’s President,” the NSC announced via its Twitter account (@NSCPress) late Monday afternoon.

“The two leaders will review progress & challenges in U.S.-China relations & discuss ways to enhance cooperation in the years ahead,” the NSC went on to say.

The two leaders previously met when then-Vice President Xi Jinping traveled to Washington, DC in February 2012 at the invitation of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden.  During that trip Xi also met with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, and members of the U.S. Congress.

During his U.S. trip Xi also visited Los Angeles where he was met by California Governor Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In California, Xi and Governor Brown began working on a Memorandum of Understanding that was finalized during Brown’s trip to China back in April of this year.

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Since Obama won reelection and Xi formally inherited power, the Obama administration has dispatched Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, among other officials, to Beijing.

Obama and Xi have also talked by phone and Obama hosted China's incoming Ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai at the White House in April.

The new sides have pledged to develop a new type of great power relationship, although the exact meaning of the phrase has been a source of speculation. 

Also on its Twitter feed on Monday, the NSC said that “National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will travel to Beijing on May 26-28 to prepare for this meeting between POTUS [President of the United States] and President Xi.” Donilon has long served as President Obama’s point man on relations with China.

Interestingly, earlier this month California media outlets announced that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would travel to China from May 26 to May 29 to promote tourism, trade and investment. It was not clear if he would meet with President Xi on the trip.