With a warm handshake, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a two-day summit at a California desert estate Friday, aiming for closer personal ties as they took on high-stakes issues including cybersecurity and North Korea's nuclear threats.
Under a shaded walkway as temperatures surged above 100 degrees, the two leaders - in white shirts and suit coats but no ties - greeted each other and walked side by side to start their first in-person meetings since Xi took office in March.
"Our decision to meet so early (in Xi's term) signifies the importance of the U.S.-China relationship," Obama said. He noted the unusual setting and said he hoped for "more extended" and informal talks that will lead to a "new model of cooperation" between countries.
The two leaders were meeting at the 200-acre Sunnylands estate just outside Palm Springs, Calif. They were to take questions from reporters Friday evening after a bilateral meeting, then hold a working dinner Friday night and additional talks Saturday morning.