Obama to honour Xi with 21-gun salute amid tensions over cyber crime

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“China will confirm for the first time that it will launch a national emissions trading system, an ETS or a cap-and-trade system in 2017”, said another senior administration official.

Australia’s Direct Action scheme has been criticised by some observers for lacking teeth and not being able to drive enough cuts to meet the country’s worldwide targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Call him Bei Bei. Some estimates gauge that approximately 4,400 people per year are killed in China as a result of air pollution.

US stocks are opening solidly higher after a three-day slump.

As state media reports have it, China’s President Xi Jinping is dispelling all concerns about cyberhacking, the economy and the South China Sea during his USA trip, and relations between the two countries have never been rosier.

“I indicated that it has to stop”, Obama said.

Xi – who kicked off his USA visit in Seattle, meeting with top corporate CEOs – is seen in Washington as one of the strongest Chinese leaders in decades, consolidating political, military and government power at a speed not seen since Deng Xiaoping. But how will officials make this dinner better than the last one?

In an attempt to shine a positive light onto what might otherwise be a tense state visit, the White House outlined on Thursday the new steps toward combating climate change.

Xi said the two nations would step up cyber crime investigation and information sharing.

A senior Obama administration official noted that many countries still don’t agree with the U.S.-China approach – which in practice essentially allows countries to simply do as much as they believe they can – but said the fissures are starting to close.

China may already be developing offensive hacking weapons, evidenced by the display earlier this year of its “Great Cannon”, which redirected traffic flowing through China’s networks to overload the servers of U.S.-based GitHub in a massive direct denial of service attack.

“Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides”, Xi said, speaking through an interpreter. Obama and Xi are also expected to discuss China’s disputed territorial claims, which have unnerved some U.S. partners in Asia. He made no specific mention of the issues Obama raised.

Despite ideological differences on other matters, including tit-for-tat accusations on cyber hacking and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the two presidents have demonstrated the willingness to work together on climate change. China has reclaimed about 3,000 acres of land in the past year-and-a-half by dredging sand from the ocean bed.

Against this background, the agreement on climate change – both countries signed a “joint vision” ahead of December’s United Nations climate summit in Paris, and China committed to a domestic “cap and trade” carbon exchange – was all the more notable.

China will also offer a “very substantial financial commitment” to help poor nations transition to low-pollution technologies, the USA officials said, without releasing the exact figure.

Division: Remains wide. Xi reiterated China’s claim, saying the islands have belonged to his country for centuries.

Agreement: Obama praised China as a “powerhouse” and repeated past statements that the US welcomes China’s rise as “a responsible player in global affairs”.

The deals require captains of naval vessels to ensure prompt communication, to make their intentions clear, to maintain a safe distance and to avoid “uncivil language” or “unfriendly physical gestures” to head off collisions that could mushroom into national security standoffs.

But he seemed to rebuff recent threats from USA officials who have suggested that economic sanctions could be enacted against Chinese firms that benefit from cyberattacks.

Any sanctions levied would likely draw on an executive order issued in April that gives USA officials the ability to impose punitive measures “on individuals or entities” connected to online theft.

But China denies this, and the US government has done little to publicly retaliate.


“This is not just a matter of us being mildly upset, but is something that will put significant strains on a bilateral relationship if not resolved, and that we are prepared to take some countervailing actions”, Obama said this month. Like the president and others, he said the key will be how well the agreement is implemented.

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