On Nov. 9, the eve of President Obama’s arrival in Beijing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, a bright moon climbed across a dark sky. This took months of staging: to clear the air for arriving dignitaries, the government closed factories, cut traffic and ordered workers home. But by the time Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping sat down to dinner on Nov. 10, the smog was back, and the moon rose, as it usually does, through a toxic pall.
“Counter to the heated rhetoric over the last few years, U.S.-China relations show more signs of cooperation than confrontation right now,” says Yun Sun, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.–based Stimson Center. “The key question is, does this adjustment reflect a change in foreign policy in the longer run?”
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