Obama and China President Xi take a morning stroll

12:48 PM, Jun 8, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: JEWEL SAMAD, AFP/Getty Images)
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Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping began the second day of their desert summit on Saturday with a leisurely stroll.

The leaders, who are set to wrap up two days of meetings Saturday afternoon, took a walk on the property of the Sunnylands estate with just a pair of interpreters who lagged steps behind them.

The estate, which was the winter home of the late billionaires Walter and Leonore Annenberg, is quite picturesque.

The two could be seen by reporters walking across a bucolic expanse of grass and then over a pedestrian bridge near a pond, with the San Jacinto Mountains in the distance.

Responding to a shouted question from a reporter about how the summit was going, Obama responded, "Terrific."

The two men were back to talks in the main house at Sunnylands less than an hour later. Outside the house, a new bench had been installed--a gift from Obama to mark the summit.

The bench was inscribed, "Presented to His Excellency Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China By Barack Obama President of the United States, Sunnylands Annenberg Estate, June 7-8, 2013." It also had a short statement written in Chinese.

Over several hours of talks and a dinner on Friday, Obama said Xi touched on several critical issues in the U.S.-Sino relationship, including trade, climate change, North Korea's nuclear program and cybersecurity.

In the days ahead of the summit, cybersecurity emerged as perhaps the most contentious issue between the two countries

On Friday, Obama said that the two leaders didn't delve deeply into the issue, but he noted the "deep concerns" the U.S. government has about theft of intellectual property and hacking into private and government networks.

"What both President Xi and I recognize is that because of these incredible advances in technology, that the issue of cyber security and the need for rules and common approaches to cybersecurity are going to be increasingly important as part of bilateral relationships and multilateral relationships," said Obama, adding that world was entering "uncharted waters" on the issue.

China has been widely linked to network break-ins of numerous Western companies and agencies. And Obama issued an executive order this year to compel government and industry to share intelligence about network breaches, mainly to protect the nation's infrastructure.

The Pentagon also blamed China for cyberattacks in its annual report to U.S. lawmakers on Chinese military capabilities. The report, published in May, stated that some of the recent cyberattacks in the United States appeared "to be attributable directly to Chinese government and military."

Xi didn't address those charges but said on Friday that China was also the victim of cyberattacks. He added that through good faith negotiations the U.S. and China could make the issue "a positive area of cooperation."

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