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Obama Goes to China: Issues and Positions

USCI resources illuminate Senator and now President Obama's views, the key issues to be discussed in Beijing, and the context of this visit.

November 6, 2009

President Barack Obama is traveling to China as part of a swing through Asia that will include participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore and stops in Japan and South Korea. Key issues to be addressed in China were highlighted in Talking Points (Nov. 4-18, 2009 issue).

The Itinerary

Nov. 11-12 Tokyo
Nov. 13-15 Singapore, APEC meeting
Nov. 15-18 Beijing and Shanghai
Nov. 18-19 Seoul

How do you write Obama?

The US government writes the President's name as: 欧巴马 (ōubāmǎ)
The Chinese government and media uses: 奥巴马 (àobāmǎ)


The USC US-China Institute website and our US-China Today web magazine offer a variety of useful resources relating to US-China issues to be addressed during the visit. 

Obama on China
On the election trail, then Senator Obama asserted a middle of the road position on China, but called for efforts to assure that trade was both free and fair. Excerpts from speeches and interviews with aides and advocates are included in the “Obama on China” segment of our Challenge of China documentary. Click here to see this segment.

Other segments focus on trade and cooperation on arms control and climate change. These are available here, along with links to related resources. The videos are also available at the Institute’s YouTube channel.

Obama and Others -- Strategic and Economic Dialogue

Click here for video of the president's opening speech, plus quotations and documents from the July 2009 meeting.

Christensen on “Shaping China’s Choices”

From 2006 to 2008, Princeton’s Tom Christensen oversaw China policy at the State Department. Just prior to the election, he offered advice at USC on what should be done to improve US-China ties. Click here to see his presentation.

Economy on "The Global Impact of China's Environmental Crisis

Elizabeth Economy, Director of Asian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, is author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future. She spoke at USC in 2007 and 2009 on environmental conditions in China, measures being taken by the Chinese government, and the global implications of the degradation of China's environment. Click here for her 2007 presentation and here for her 2009 presentation.

Making American Policy toward China

Christensen’s comments opened a day-long examination of strategic, economic, and environmental issues, precisely what’s on the agenda for the Beijing meetings. Video and links to the papers presented is available at the conference website.

US and Chinese Government Reports

The documents section of the Institute website offers reports, speeches, and treaties relating to US-China ties, contemporary China, and US-Taiwan ties. For example, in October the US Economic and Security Review Commission released a report on China’s cyber warfare capability, in September Deputy Sec. of State James Steinberg offered the administration’s vision of US-China relations, and in March the Defense Department released its assessment of China’s overall military capabilities. Over the past year, the head of China’s central bank called for reform of the international monetary system and China’s State Council released a report on human rights in the United States.

Graphs (included in Talking Points, the Institute's weekly newsletter)

US-China Opinion Surveys

Top Trading Nations

US-China Trade, Chinese Ownership of US Treasury Notes

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Energy Consumption

Oil Consumption

Other reports on opinion surveys:

Soft Power

Hope and Fear