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TIMELINE -- The obstacle course for U.S.-China ties in 2010

February 13, 2010

February 12, 2010

Ties between China and the United States will be
tested this year by many issues: currency, trade,
Internet censorship, human rights, U.S. arms
sales to Taiwan and President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Leaders will also have several chances to meet,
both at the bilateral level and at summits. Here
is a timeline of significant dates this year:

Jan. 12 - Google threatens to pull out of China
over censorship and hacking attacks from within the country.

Jan. 21 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
delivers speech calling for Internet freedoms,
names China as a country that has stepped censorship of the web.

Jan. 29 - Obama administration notifies 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.

Feb. 15 - U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz due to
visit Hong Hong, the self-administered territory
under Chinese rule, some time during the week starting Feb. 15.

Feb. 18 - U.S. President Barack Obama scheduled
to meet exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai
Lama, at the White House. China reviles the Dalai
Lama as a "separatist" for advocating self-rule for his homeland.

Feb. 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.
Delivery of the weapons may take years.

February - U.S. State Department due to hold
meeting with U.S. Internet firms about online
freedom, a meeting that may dwell on policy towards China.

February-March - China, U.S. and other members of
the United Nations Security Council likely to
discuss proposed resolution putting additional
sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities.

March 5 - China opens annual parliamentary
session, the National People's Congress. Usually
at a news conference a day before the Congress
opens, China announces its official defence
budget for the year. The Communist
Party-controlled parliament usually meets for
about 10 days. At the end, Premier Wen Jiabao
will give a high-profile news conference, giving
him a chance to comment on U.S. ties and Taiwan.

April 12-13 - President Obama hosts an
international nuclear security summit in
Washington, D.C. Chinese President Hu Jintao
would be his nation's most fitting representative
at the meeting, but Beijing has yet to say whether he will go.

April 15 - U.S. Treasury due to release latest
six-monthly report on whether China and other
countries are manipulating their currencies for trade advantage.

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.

Mid-year onwards - Senior officials from the
United States and China will at some time gather
in Beijing for Strategic and Economic Dialogue,
an annual meeting to discuss key economic,
foreign policy and security concerns.

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

Later in the year - The two countries are
preparing for their Joint Commission on Commerce
and Trade, a regular meeting that focuses on
economic ties. Last year's was held in late
October in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Nov. 2 - Mid-term elections for U.S. Congress.
With economic concerns uppermost in many voters'
minds, trade and currency tensions with China may become a electoral 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.

The summit is likely to take place immediately
before or after the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation summit, to be held in Yokohama,
Japan, on Nov. 13-14, a separate opportunity for the two leaders to meet.

November-December - When President Obama visited
China in November 2009, Chinese President Hu
accepted his invitation to visit the United
States in 2010. No date has been set for Hu's
trip, but it appears unlikely before the U.S. Congress mid-term elections.

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

December - Local elections for mayors and
magistrates across Taiwan, the self-ruled island
that China says belongs to it. 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 more pro-China ruling
Nationalist Party (KMT) against the
independence-leaning opposition Democratic
Progressive Party, and Beijing's policies towards
Taiwan could be a major issue.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing; Jim Wolf,
Doug Palmer and Paul Eckert in Washington; Ralph
Jennings in Taipei; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Alex Richardson)
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