President Obama kicked off an eight-day trip to China, Myanmar and Australia by announcing the expansion of a visa program with China, a piece of good news for the often tense relationship between the two countries.
The new program will increase the length of a short-term tourist or business visa from one to ten years, and make student visas valid for five years rather than one. A senior U.S. official predicted it could increase spending by Chinese tourists by $85 billion before 2021.
But several issues linger in the U.S.-China relationship that create distrust between the two countries. Mr. Obama sought to address suspicion about U.S. intentions in Asia when he spoke to a CEO summit at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation Summit Monday.
But he also prodded the government to take action on issues that the U.S. sees as an impediment to their working relationship, including fair competition in China and issues of intellectual property theft.
He also pushed China on its currency, saying the U.S. is looking to China “to move definitively toward a more market-determined exchange rate, and, yes, to stand up for human rights and freedom of the press.”
In addition to those speeches and meetings, Mr. Obama also participated in a bilateral meeting with Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo. He praised the country for a “full transition . . . to a thriving democracy” and its record of tolerance and isolating extremism among a large Muslim population.
President Obama put on a purple silk robe, matching the one worn by the Chinese president, to watch a fireworks display for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation he’s attending in China.
“It’s a tradition that each year the APEC host provides shirt or jacket for the other leaders as sign of cooperation,” says CBS’s Mark Knoller.