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US, Chinese Presidents Begin Talks at California Summit

The leaders of the world's two biggest economies -- the United States and China -- are meeting in California to pursue a fresh start to a complicated, often tense relationship.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, began talks Friday evening at the Sunnylands estate in Palm Springs, near the city of Los Angeles. They will have a private dinner Friday night and continue their discussions Saturday morning.

The two leaders are expected to address U.S. concerns about China's reported cyber attacks on the U.S. military and businesses, as well as China's demands for easier access to U.S. markets. North Korea's nuclear program is also expected to be high on the agenda.

Obama administration officials say the informal setting will allow for a more candid discussion.

Recent reports have accused China-based operations of stealing U.S. military and commercial secrets through cyber espionage.

At a security forum in Singapore, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a stern warning to Beijing, calling Internet hacking a danger to every country, including China.

China has said it believes it also is a victim of cyber spying -- by the United States. The two countries are expected to work together on a cybersecurity code.

President Xi is also expected to express China's concern about increased U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. And he will address complaints by some Chinese businesses that Washington is creating obstacles for their investments in the United States.

Talks on North Korea are likely to focus on responses to its nuclear program. The impoverished and isolated country depends heavily on China for aid and trade. Beijing maintains close ties with Pyongyang, but North Korea's belligerent rhetoric, a rocket launch and another nuclear test in the past year have strained China's patience. President Xi has called on North Korean leaders to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

Mr. Xi's visit marks his first trip to the United States as president. Last year, the Chinese leader met President Obama at the White House when he was still vice president. That meeting in the Oval Office was a more formal one.

The Chinese leader arrived in California Thursday, after official visits to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad.


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