A president at the beginning of a second term in the White House is in need of a legacy and expectations are running high for improved relations after US President Barack Obama was sworn in for another four years.
Obama was officially inaugurated at a White House ceremony on Sunday as the US Constitution requires that the president be sworn in by Jan 20. A public ceremony will be held on Monday.
Leaders of both China and the US have already defined their ties as the most important relationship of the century. After a bruising presidential campaign, characterized by China bashing by both political parties, recent months have seen a cooling of rhetoric.
When Obama met with Premier Wen Jiabao in November, the US president described the relationship as "cooperative and constructive''.
Party chief Xi Jinping told former US president Jimmy Carter last month that both countries should build a partnership based on respect.
Despite media attempts to hype intense rivalry between the two countries, Jeffrey Bader, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former senior director for East Asia affairs in Obama's National Security Council, said ties have been quite good.
The two leading economies in the world have become each other's second-largest trade partners, with bilateral trade approaching $500 billion.
US President Barack Obama takes the oath of office in the White House on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]