North Korea focus for US-China summit

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North Korea focus for US-China summit

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The leaders of the world’s top two economies – US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jingping – are due to meet in California.

Far from the political hotbed of Washington, the summit will take place in the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, which is designed to be the “Camp David of the west “. The estate is filled with ancient Chinese art from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

While an unusual venue for such a high profile meeting, it will provide a relaxing environment for the leaders to discuss business.

High on the agenda will be North Korea; with President Jingping reported to be wary of his regional neighbours.

Jeffery Bader of the Brookings Institution said: “Jingping has been deeply disturbed by North Korean conduct over the last four or five months.”

He added: “I think this puts the Chinese in a position of being much more prepared to close the gap with the US in terms of how to respond to North Korea.” He called the meetings a “real opportunity” for Obama and the US.

President Obama will also be keen to discuss cyber-security, after several reports of state-sponsored Chinese cyber-attacks on US government, commercial and civil organisations.

In addition, human rights groups have been pressuring Obama to discuss the release of 16 prominent political and religious prisoners. These include Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng and political prisoners from Tibetan ethnic minorities.

There has arguably never been a better time for the two superpowers to find common ground, and the foremost priority of the summit will be to create a personal relationship between the leaders to pave the way to further resolutions in the future.