While the U.S.-China relationship has faced numerous challenges, the two countries have the opportunity to benefit from a wide-ranging collaborative agenda. Although issues of the day such as cyberespionage, tensions in the South China Sea, and China’s economic slowdown will be a key focus during the official state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, issues of long-term cooperation—including the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), environmental sustainability, global health, and the spread of terrorism—will most likely take a backseat during the meetings. All of these issues, however, will remain on the agenda for the Chinese and American leaders who will assume power during leadership transitions in the next couple of years. In advance of the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the 2017 party congress in China, the domestic and foreign policy trajectories of these two major powers—and the trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship—are unclear.
On September 22, the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution will partner with Seattle University to present keynote addresses by top American and Chinese policymakers and two panel discussions featuring Brookings scholars to explain the challenges and prospects for U.S.-China relations during President Xi’s state visit and beyond.
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[On the ongoing trade negotiations] If we’re serious about resolving the core issues that the U.S. has with China, then this is going to be a way station that’s going to require a lot more continued focus by the administration for a number of months if not years.