The Latest: China's Xi calls state visit 'unforgettable'

AP News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2015 9:59 PM
The Latest: China's Xi calls state visit 'unforgettable'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest developments from the state visit that President Barack Obama is hosting for Chinese President Xi Jinping. All times local:

8:30 p.m.

It's time for the dinner toasts at Friday's lavish state dinner for China.

President Barack Obama raised a glass to the American and Chinese people.

"May they work together like fingers on the same hand in friendship and peace," he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng), in his remarks, called the state visit an "unforgettable journey."

Xi said that from the West Coast to the East, the American people have "a lot of goodwill toward the Chinese people."

He added that such good feelings will be "fully reciprocated" by the Chinese people.

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7:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) and his wife, Peng Liyuan (puhng LEE'-yoo-en), to the White House for a state dinner.

The black-tie dinner is being held in honor of Xi, who is in Washington on a state visit. China's leader and Obama met for several hours at the White House earlier Friday.

A 21-gun salute heralded his arrival for those talks. Xi was also treated to a State Department lunch with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and others.

A state dinner is the glitzy end to a state visit.

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7:10 p.m.

First lady Michelle Obama arrived at the state dinner wearing a black, off-the-shoulder mermaid gown, with her long hair swept to the side.

The White House says the dress was designed by Vera Wang, who is of Chinese origin. Her parents are from Shanghai and came to the U.S. before Wang was born.

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6:40 p.m.

The guest list is out for President Obama's state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) and it's a high-powered mashup of Hollywood, diplomacy and big business.

Among the prominent names on the 200-person A-list: "Empire" creator Lee Daniels, diplomat emeritus Henry Kissinger and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Others who made the cut for the exclusive event include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, philanthropist David Rubenstein and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Also invited: ballerina Misty Copeland, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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2:40

Separated by metal barriers and a few police, demonstrators for and against China's president were rallying in the park across from the White House when the two leaders met inside, and there was no doubt which camp was winning the decibel count.

A coalition of vocal anti-Beijing organizations was pitched on one side of the divide in Lafayette Square. Among them were Taiwanese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Chinese democracy campaigners and ethnic Uighurs. Each contingent carried their own colorful banners against Xi Jinping.

Uighurs railed against discrimination of their Muslim brethren in China's far west. A raucous gathering of flag-waving Tibetans used a loudspeaker, chanting: "China out of Tibet now!"

On the other side of the barriers was a more sedate rally welcoming Xi where demonstrators were decked in red. They wore the same T-shirts, showing an eagle and a panda flashing peace signs. The group included young Chinese studying in the U.S. and members of Chinese-American associations.

The rallies were peaceful, although witnesses said police had to separate a minor scuffle at the divide between the two groups.

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1:20

Xi Jinping is striking a mild tone on South China Sea territorial claims and cyberespionage allegations, two of the most contentious issues between China and the U.S.

Xi defended China's claim to the area and said construction work on artificial islands doesn't "target or impact any country and China does not intend to pursue militarization." The U.S. has no territorial claims in the area but says the island development is destabilizing the region and should stop.

However, Xi added that China wanted disputes to be settled peacefully and to explore "ways to achieve mutual benefit through cooperation." He said China also respects freedom of navigation and overflight in the area that is crucial to global trade.

On cyberespionage, Xi said "confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides" and that Beijing and Washington would establish a "high-level dialogue mechanism" to deal with disputes.

1:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the U.S. and China have made significant progress on how to work together to stem cyberthefts from U.S. corporations, but that words now must be followed by actions.

Obama says the two nations have agreed on how law enforcement officials will work together and exchange information. He also says China has affirmed the principle that governments don't engage in cyberespionage against companies.

Obama also says the U.S. will go after cyber criminals with all the tools in its arsenal.

Xi said China has more than 600 million Internet users. He says China strongly opposes and combats the theft of commercial secrets and other kinds of hacking attacks. He says cooperation between the two nations will benefit both countries while confrontation will lead to losses on both sides.

12:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the United States and China have struck an agreement not to conduct or knowingly support cybertheft of trade secrets or competitive economic information.

Obama is announcing the agreement during a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng). Obama describes it as a common understanding of the way forward.

Obama says he raised his "very serious concerns" about growing cyberthreats in his meeting with Xi. He says he told Xi that "it has to stop."

The president says the U.S. and China are addressing their disagreements "candidly and constructively."

The White House says the agreement covers trade secrets and other confidential business information where the intent is to provide a competitive advantage to a country's companies or commercial sectors.

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12:00 p.m.

China says it will commit $3.1 billion to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, one of a series of measures taken with the U.S. to combat climate change.

A joint statement issued after a summit between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping listed a series of measures taken to flesh out their pledge, made last year, to work to reduce emissions.

The U.S. earlier pledged $3 billion to a United Nations fund to aid developing nations reduce emissions.

The statement said China's financial support would aim to "help developing countries build low-carbon and climate-resilient societies."

China also pledged to launch a national system to limit greenhouse gases and force industries to purchase pollution credits, to take effect in 2017.

The two countries also committed to aligning their positions in negotiations on a broader global climate change treaty at a Paris conference in December.

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11:25 a.m.

In a jab at the White House for preparing to honor Chinese President Xi Jinping with a state dinner, leaders of the congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission honored exiled Chinese activists with a "stateless breakfast" at Capitol Hill on Friday morning.

Activists took turns in offering toasts, calling for the restoration of various human rights they said China's government violates. Tsering Kyi (SER-ing kee), a Tibetan blogger whose nephew set fire to himself in 2013 to protest Chinese rule, called for religious freedom. Rebiya Kadeer (reb-EE-yah kah-DEER), an exiled minority Uighur leader, called for political prisoners to be released.

Six U.S. lawmakers, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, joined the gathering.

The host, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, joked that the bubbly on offer wasn't as good as what would be served at the state dinner. "But I would rather drink this cheap champagne and be here with all of you to honor all the people we are honoring here, than be at the White House tonight," he said.

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11:15 a.m.

Washington's 4-week-old panda cub is nameless no more.

First lady Michelle Obama unrolled a scroll to reveal that the black and white bear will be named Bei Bei. The name means "precious treasure."

Mrs. Obama made the announcement at the Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington, where the cub was born last month.

Mrs. Obama took her Chinese counterpart, Madame Peng Liyuan, on a tour of the panda exhibit.

Peng has accompanied her husband, Chinese President Xi Jinping, on a state visit to the White House.

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Obama and Xi are meeting in the Oval Office after speaking at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn in which both leaders spoke of the importance of the two nations working together. The two leaders shook hands and smiled broadly for the cameras before the meeting, but did not answer questions. There will be a press conference after the meeting. Moments earlier, Obama had said he welcomes the rise of a China that is stable, prosperous and peaceful, because that benefits everyone. Each leader noted there will be disagreements, with Obama saying the United States will always speak out on behalf of fundamental truths and Xi saying the two countries needed to be "broad-minded" when there are differences.

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10:30 a.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) says China and the U.S. need to be frank about their disagreements in order to improve trust and understanding between the world's two largest economies.

Xi spoke to dignitaries and invited guests from both countries at a White House welcoming ceremony. He said the sides need to keep the relationship moving forward despite their differences. Xi said ties had reached a new starting point in the 21st century, and "win-win" cooperation was needed for further growth in ties.

He says China and the U.S. "must enhance strategic trust and mutual understanding, respect each other's interests and concerns, be broad-minded about differences and disagreements and strengthen out people's confidence in China-U.S. friendship and cooperation."

The state visit is Xi's first to Washington since taking over as president in 2013 and the first by a Chinese head of state since 2011.

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9:30 a.m.

President Barack Obama says he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will "candidly" address their differences on issues including cyberspying and human rights during Friday's state visit.

Opening Xi's state visit to Washington, Obama says nations are more successful when their companies compete on an even playing field and human rights are respected. He says that if the U.S. and China work together, they have an "unmatched ability" to shape the course of this century.

Cybersecurity and human rights are expected to be issues of tensions in the private meetings Obama and Xi will hold after the White House welcoming ceremony.

Obama says Xi's visit reflects the history of "friendship and cooperation" between their two nations.

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9:15 a.m.

For the second time this week, the White House South Lawn is the setting for a grand welcome ceremony. This time, it's for Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng).

The ceremony for the Chinese leader looks similar to the one the White House held Wednesday for Pope Francis, but with a few notable exceptions.

The crowd is far smaller for Xi's welcome and the ceremony includes the traditional 21-gun salute.

The White House says it skipped the firing of weapons when Francis arrived in deference to the pope's humility.

President Barack Obama and Xi stood side by side as a military band played the national anthems of both countries.