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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 -- have opened a two-day 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 their informal talks Friday evening at the Sunnylands estate near Los Angeles.

Mr. Obama expressed hope the two countries will work together on various issues, including cybersecurity. Recent reports have accused China-based operations of stealing U.S. military and commercial secrets through cyber espionage.

Mr. Xi did not mention cybersecurity in his remarks. The Chinese leader expressed hope the two countries can build a new model of "big country" relations.

The two leaders are having a private dinner Friday night and continue their discussions Saturday morning.

They 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.

President Xi is 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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