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How Trump's first visit to China was similar to Obama's

Trump in China in 2016; Obama in China in 2009. Photos: Andrew Harnik / AP, Charles Dharapak / AP

President Trump has largely taken it easy on China during his two-day stop in Beijing, something Barack Obama was criticized for during his first trip to China as president, which took place under surprisingly similar circumstances.

The parallels: Obama and Trump both visited China in November of their first years in office as a part of larger multi-country swings through Asia as major legislative packages hung in the balance back home. And each of their trips garnered criticism for being largely deferential to their Chinese hosts — though both presidents might argue that their decisions were part of a larger strategy to establish stronger relations with the United States' biggest competitor on the world stage.