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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

FACTBOX - The rocky path of U.S.-China ties in 2010

February 3, 2010

February 3, 2010

China has said ties with the United States will
be hurt by President Barack Obama's decision to
go ahead with fresh arms sales to Taiwan, which
Beijing claims as its own, and to meet the Dalai Lama.

But Chinese President Hu Jintao is due to make a
formal bilateral visit to Washington later this year.

Here is a timeline explaining the main dates in
Sino-U.S. affairs in 2010, and other events that could affect ties.

January 29 -- Obama administration notified the
U.S. Congress of proposed arms sales to Taiwan
totalling $6.4 billion. Congress has 30 calendar
days to review the proposal before the administration may conclude any deals.

February 21-24 -- The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled
leader, is scheduled to give talks in the United
States, visiting California and Florida. He is
due to be in Dharamsala, his base in northern
India, to lecture on Feb. 28. He thus has
openings before Feb. 21 or between Feb. 24 and 28
when it would be possible to meet Obama, an event
sure to draw angry criticism from China, which
deems the exiled Tibetan leader a separatist threat.

The Dalai Lama returns to the U.S. in May, and could meet Obama on that visit.

February 28 -- Obama administration free to
proceed with the weapons sales to Taiwan unless
Congress passes legislation barring or modifying
a proposed sale, something it has never done.
Lawmakers, however, may pass legislation to block
or modify an arms sale at any time up to the
point of delivery of the arms, a process that may take years.

March 5 -- China's annual parliamentary session,
the National People's Congress, opens. China
usually unveils its official defence budget for
the year at a news conference a day before the
open, giving a signal of the pace of its military
modernisation. The Communist Party-controlled
parliament usually meets for about 10 days.

April 12-13 -- Obama hosts an international
nuclear security summit in Washington, bringing
together leaders to discuss arms control,
non-proliferation and reducing the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Chinese President Hu Jintao would be his nation's
most fitting representative at the meeting, but
Beijing has yet to announce whether he will go.

May 12-23 -- Dalai Lama scheduled to return to
the United States, giving talks in Indiana, Iowa
and New York, opening another opportunity for him to meet Obama.

May 15-25 -- U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary
Locke leads trade mission to Hong Kong, China and
Indonesia, promoting deals with American companies in clean energy.

May onwards -- Senior officials from the United
States and China scheduled to gather in Beijing
for Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual
meeting when both sides discuss key economic,
foreign policy and security concerns.

Neither government has publicly confirmed a date
for the meeting, but some time from May to July appears likely.

During last year's dialogue in July, Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the
Treasury Timothy Geithner led the U.S.
delegation. China's delegation was led by State
Councillor Dai Bingguo and Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

June 26-27 - Meeting of G20 leaders of major rich
and developing economies scheduled in Toronto,
giving Hu and Obama an opportunity to meet.

October perhaps -- The two countries are
preparing for their Joint Commission on Commerce
and Trade, a regular meeting that focuses on
economic ties. No date has been set. Last year's
was held in late October in the east Chinese city of Hangzhou.

November 2 -- Mid-term elections for U.S.
Congress. These elections are likely to be a test
of the popularity of the policies of the Obama
administration. With economic concerns uppermost
in many voters' minds, trade and currency
tensions with China may become a significant issue.

November -- South Korea scheduled to host second
summit for the year of the G20 group of major
rich and developing economies, giving Hu and Obama another chance to meet.

That G20 summit is likely to happen immediately
before or after the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation summit of regional leaders, set to be
held in Yokohama, Japan, on Nov. 13-14, a
separate opportunity for the two leaders to meet.

November-December -- When Obama visited China in
November 2009, Hu accepted his invitation to visit the United States in 2010.

No date has been set for Hu's trip, which China
would treat as a major state visit, with every
detail negotiated beforehand. Such a visit
appears unlikely to happen before the U.S. Congressional mid-term elections.

For all its coolness towards Washington now,
China would regard that visit as a major
diplomatic trophy, and that may help to ease tensions beforehand.

December -- Local elections for mayors and
magistrates across Taiwan. No firm date has been
set for the elections, which will cover about 60
percent of the island's electorate.

The vote will pit the ruling Nationalist Party
(KMT) and against the opposition Democratic
Progressive Party, and Beijing's policies towards
Taiwan could be a major issue.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing; Jim Wolf
and Doug Palmer in Washington; Ralph Jennings in Taipei)
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