In mid-November, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing in what has been billed as a sequel to their June 2013 gathering in southern California. The leaders will have the opportunity to take stock of where the relationship is today and chart the course forward. Given this extraordinary opportunity for an open exchange of each other’s interests and intentions, President Obama should raise the following three items for discussion in Beijing: (i) Express the desire to move away from big conceptual frameworks toward practical cooperation and the management of differences; (ii) engage President Xi in a conversation about how China perceives the “status quo” in Asia; and (iii) Clarify that China’s assertiveness in East Asia is challenging vital national interests of the United States.
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