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Obama and Xi Spar Over Rival Free-Trade Pacts at APEC Forum

President Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the APEC Summit banquet in Beijing on Nov. 10
President Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the APEC Summit banquet in Beijing on Nov. 10Photograph by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Following his party’s recent midterm electoral rout, and facing an increasingly assertive China abroad, you might think President Obama would be in a conciliatory mood on his first visit to Beijing in five years. So far, that’s not the case.

Just hours after arriving in China’s capital to attend meetings of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and for an official state visit, Obama was hosting almost a dozen heads of state at the U.S. Embassy to try and jump-start negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade pact.