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November 12, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright November 12, 2009. Used by permission.


President Barack Obama is en route to Asia right now, and though he’ll also be making stops in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, the centerpiece of his trip is the three days he’ll be spending in China. Tours of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City are, of course, on the itinerary, but Obama’s schedule in China isn’t limited to sightseeing; he’ll also be meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing and Shanghai to discuss a range of issues, including re-evaluation of the renminbi, relations with North Korea, and climate change. We’ve compiled some of this week’s writings around the web into a quick reading list on the President’s first trip to China:

1. Foreign Policy has the full itinerary of Obama’s trip on its website, though we’re now hearing that his town hall meeting with students in Shanghai might be canceled, according to the Financial Times:

The White House had hoped the Monday morning forum would be President Obama’s one big chance to try and communicate directly with young Chinese people.

But as of this morning, according to a source familiar with the negotiations, there was still no agreement with the Chinese authorities on who would be present or how the question-and-answer session would work. And, most importantly for the White House, there was also no decision on whether it would be broadcast live on television and on the internet.

2. The U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California has put together an excellent briefing book for anyone who wants to check out resources related to the topics that Obama will be discussing while in China.

3. Ian Johnson at the Wall Street Journal has a piece on U.S.-China friction and the potential for real change to result from Obama’s trip. The outlook? Not so good, according to Johnson:

[A]lthough relations are arguably better than ever, most of the issues on the table are also as intractable as ever.