LOS ANGELES — U.S. President Barack Obama will meet in California Friday and Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. California’s large Chinese-American population will be paying close attention.
One in seven Californians is Asian American, and many still have close ties with their family homeland.
California's Chinese Americans have been preparing to welcome the Xi delegation, and they say they have high hopes for the summit.
Obama met Xi last year, when he was China's vice president, and they tackled trade disputes. Cyber-spying, human rights, and East Asian stability are on the agenda this time.
Chester Chong, who heads the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, says good relations between the nations are crucial.
“These two country’s leaders meeting together will be very, very important as to how to bring the world harmony and peace," he said.
At California State University-Los Angeles, home to many Asian students, a statue of Confucius overlooks the campus.
Stefan Ogbac, of mixed Filipino-Chinese descent, is concerned about workers' rights in China.
“They’re doing a good job of modernizing the country, but when it comes to social issues, their record is still pretty low," he said.
“Obama needs China to help to stem some nuclear threats such as North Korea or Iran," said Dalvin Tsai, who studies Chinese history and says China today is an influential power.
Students say the economies of the United States and China are intertwined, and, so, says Jeff Zhang, communication is important.
“It’s always better to have friends, and working together, you can accomplish a lot more between two countries that will be beneficial for both," he said.
Presidents Xi and Obama will meet at the estate of the late media mogul Walter Annenberg. This 80-hectare retreat in the California desert offers the two leaders the chance to get to know each other, says Geoffrey Cowan of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. Cowan is a former director of the Voice of America.
"I think it may be the first time that an American president and a Chinese president have really been together in a location over a period of time where they can get to know each other and build a personal relationship," he said.
Last year, protesters drew attention to China’s role in Tibet and other human rights issues during Xi Jinping's visit to California. They promise more protests this time near the summit site, and pro-China demonstrators are also likely to be on hand for the historic meeting.