June 28, 2013

Obams talks about the China factor while in Africa

President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that rival China has invested heavily in Africa, but said America can still compete in the fast-growing continent.

"This is not a zero-sum game. This is not the Cold War. You’ve got one global market, and if countries that are now entering into middle-income status see Africa as a big opportunity for them that can potentially help Africa," Obama told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One from Senegal to South Africa. "What we have going for us, though, is our values, our approach to development, our approach to democracy."

China overtook the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner years ago. It has helped pay for roads and bridges and bought 20 percent of Standard Bank of South Africa. Its president and vice president have visited more than 30 African countries in recent years.

"A lot of people are pleased that China is involved in Africa," Obama said. "On the other hand, they recognize that China’s primary interest is being able to obtain access for natural resources in Africa to feed the manufacturers in export-driven policies of the Chinese economy. And oftentimes that leaves Africa as simply an exporter of raw goods, not a lot of value added -- as a consequence, not a lot of jobs created inside of Africa, and it does not become the basis for long-term development."
Obama is pushing small- and medium-sized businesses to invest in Africa by strengthening agencies, such the Overseas Private Investment Corp., and encouraging regional cooperation, eliminating legal barriers and requiring greater transparency in anti-corruption measures

"One of the main things that we want American companies to see is that Africa is ready to do business and that there’s huge potential there," he said. "What African countries have to do -- and this is a message I’m delivering consistently -- is ensure that there’s stability and good governance so that American companies can reduce some of those risks that have nothing to do with business and have to do with will they be able to get their profits out, will they have to pay a bribe, will they have to find ways to negotiate with bureaucracies endlessly."

June 08, 2013

US-China reach agreement on climate change steps

With President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapping up a two-day summit, the White House says they've agreed on an "important new step" to confront global climate change.

A White House memo says that "for the first time," the United States and China -- the two countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world -- will work together and with other countries to "use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol" to phase down consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), among other forms of multilateral cooperation.

House and Senate Democrats earlier this week called on Obama to press Xi to embrace the provision.

The White House estimates a global phase down of HFCs could potentially reduce some 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, equal to roughly two years worth of current global greenhouse gas emissions.

Continue reading "US-China reach agreement on climate change steps " »

Obama and Xi start with a walk, Obama says talks have been "terrific"

President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, opened a second day of talks at California's Sunnylands retreat with a leisurely stroll.

The pair walked out of the main house at Sunnylands just after 9 a.m. local time. The White House planned a low-key summit and the attire was working casual: Obama wore a blue shirt, open collar, sleeves rolled up, and brown slacks. Xi wore a white shirt, open collar -- though with his sleeves buttoned down at the wrist, and black pants.

They exchanged words as they walked out of the house, with their interpreters following them and providing translation. The White House pool says it couldn't hear what they were saying.

But Obama signaled the talks were going well, telling a reporter who asked: "How have the meetings gone, Mr. President?"

 "Terrific," Obama replied.

Continue reading "Obama and Xi start with a walk, Obama says talks have been "terrific"" »

Obama and Xi resume talks today

President Obama and his Chinese counterpart wrap up their Sunnylands summit today with a brief morning round of talks.

The schedule has the two convening just after 9 a.m, (local time) with Obama wishing Xi bon voyage less than two hours later. Obama, however, isn't scheduled to depart for DC until Sunday morning, prompting some to wonder if there's a round of golf or two to be had..

The two called it a day after a Friday night dinner that ran until 10:44 p.m. and a nearly 40-minute joint appearance.

China: Hacking is a problem for us too

Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted his country is worried about cyber security and said it, too, has been a victim of hacking as he met with President Obama during a summit that the U.S. hopes will convince Xi that China's allegedly rampant hacking of American companies is harming the U.S. economy.

Obama and Xi took a question apiece from reporters after wrapping up nearly four hours of talk at the secluded Sunnylands resort in California as part of a bid between the two competitive superpowers to forge a new relationship.

Obama called the talks "very constructive" and said they touched on a range of strategic issues, from North Korea to cyberspace to international institutions. Business groups have pressed Obama to get tougher on Chinese cyberhacking and Obama said the pair hadn't yet delved into cyber details, saying the talks were still at the "40,000 foot level."

But he said both presidents are aware that "because of these incredible advances in technology," the need for rules would be "increasingly important" for a relationship between the countries.

"In some ways, these are uncharted waters and you don't have the kinds of protocols that have governed military issues and arms issues, where nations have a lot of experience in trying to negotiate what'’s acceptable and what's not," Obama said. He called it "critical" that as two of the largest economies and military powers in the world, that China and the U.S. arrive at a firm understanding of how they can together.

Continue reading "China: Hacking is a problem for us too" »

June 07, 2013

Xi and Obama at "haven for presidents and monarchs, stars and tycoons"

President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping arrive later today for two days of meetings at a California retreat with a history of hosting presidents -- for parties, golf and even official business.

White House officials said Sunnylands, the Calfornia estate built for the late publisher Walter Annenberg and his wife, Lee, has been used for presidential meetings, "dating back to President Eisenhower" and provides what one senior official called the "really perfect venue for the type of discussions" Obama wants to have with Xi.

A Vanity Fair spread on the 200-acre estate last April -- as it was seeking to become "the Camp David of the West," opens with a quote from former First Lady Nancy Reagan, extolling the New Year's Eve dinner dance parties that the Annenbergs used to throw at the "plush" estate in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs.

"They were wonderful parties. People came from all over: London, Paris, New York—everywhere."

Continue reading "Xi and Obama at "haven for presidents and monarchs, stars and tycoons"" »

May 31, 2013

California fundraising to precede Obama meeting with Chinese president

President Obama will meet in California next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping -- after a pair of California fundraisers.

Obama will hold an event in San Jose on Thursday for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; and one in Los Angeles on Friday for the Democratic National Committee. He and Xi will meet later at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate, in Palm Springs.

Though Obama generally holds press availabilities with visiting dignitaries, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said a formal news conference was unlikely.

Earnest said the White House was "working through the logistics of the press setup" with its Chinese counterparts and that the White House was "working to try to make sure that there's an opportunity for the presidents to take a question or two."

Though Chinese presidents rarely take questions from the press, Earnest said it wasn't pressure from the Chinese that was slowing the setup, but "logistics." The event, he said, is "intended to be an informal gathering" for the two presidents.

Continue reading "California fundraising to precede Obama meeting with Chinese president" »

May 24, 2012

Romney's new ad talks of Day One, part 2

Mitt Romney Thursday unveiled a new "Day One" ad, his second in recent days, describing what he'd do on Jan. 20, 2013, his first day in office if elected president in November.

The new ad says he'll move quickly on deficit reduction and end the era of big government. Though he can propose cuts, he'll need Congress' consent for big changes, and that is unlikely to happen quickly. He also talks about cutting regulations and getting tough with China.

Here's the ad:

VIDEO TEXT: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VOICEOVER: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VIDEO TEXT: “Day 01”

VOICEOVER: “Day one, President Romney announces deficit reductions, ending the Obama era of big government, helping secure our kids’ futures.”

VIDEO TEXT: “End Obama era of Big Government”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney stands up to China on trade and demands they play by the rules.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Make China Play By The Rules”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney begins repealing job-killing regulations that are costing the economy billions.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Repeal Job-killing Regulations”

VOICEOVER: “That’s what a Romney Presidency will be like.”

MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message




October 18, 2011

White House National Security Adviser heading to China, India

White House National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon will leave Friday for China and India, the administration announced.

In Beijing, Donilon will meet with Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo. He'll discuss "a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern," the White House said.

After that. he'll head to India for meetings with officials including National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon. The White House said he'll talk about "recent developments in the U.S.-India strategic
partnership, and discuss ways to advance key elements of the relationship, including both countries’ participation in the upcoming East Asia Summit."

President Obama next month will host Asian leaders at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii, then will attend an East Asia summit in Indonesia.

August 23, 2011

Biden ripped for signaling acceptance of China "one-child" policy

Vice President Joe Biden is facing a barrage of criticism for saying he understands and will not second guess China's "one child" policy, a policy that human rights groups say leads to forced abortions and sterilizations.

Biden was telling a Chinese audience about efforts to cut the federal budget in the United States when he introduced the idea of China's efforts to restrict population growth.

“Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family," Biden said during a speech Sunday at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.

"The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable," he added. "So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that's much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that."

Christian conservatives and Republicans criticized Biden for signaling acceptance of the controversial policy.

"China’s one child policy has led to the great human tragedy of forced abortions throughout China, and Vice President Biden’s refusal to ‘second-guess’ this horrendous policy demonstrates great moral indifference on the part of the Obama Administration," said Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

"Americans value life, and we deserve leaders who will stand up against such inhumanity, not cast a blind eye.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was "deeply troubled" by Biden's remarks. He said China's "reprehensible" one-child policy "has resulted in forced sterilizations and coerced abortions and should not be condoned by any American official."

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group. Said that Biden's "approval of China’s one-child policy, which uses forced abortion to enforce the law, crosses the lines of ignorant and wrong.

"Then to suggest that the United States should learn from China’s policy, like forcing its citizens to have only one child, to help manage debt, is an insult to the basic American values of life and liberty."

A spokeswoman for Biden said the critics have it backwards, that Biden was pointing out the Chinese policy is wrong.

"The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization," said spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff.

"The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant.  He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable.  He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”



"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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