Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded a busy weeklong trip through the United States last week, that took him from Washington state to Washington, D.C. and then New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
The trip was important because Xi leads the second-largest economy in the world, one tightly linked to the United States’ own and which has had its share of ups and downs over the past few months. Along with its economic might, China’s sheer size – nearly a billion-and-a-half people live within its borders – makes it a key player in world politics. That’s why the country’s poor record on human rights and cyber security have sparked pushback from Americans (Presidents Obama and Xi did announce a cybersecurity agreement while Xi was in Washington).
China’s economy has suffered months of bad news, from sharp dips in the country’s stock indexes to disappointing manufacturing data. Given how important it is to the world economy – and America’s – it seems like a good time to look at the role China plays.