President Obama discusses China, Russia and Syria during business roundtable. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Obama said on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping has consolidated power more quickly than any Chinese leader in decades and that is raising human rights concerns and worrying China's neighbors. Obama, who met Xi last month in Beijing, told the Business Roundtable he found the Chinese leader wanted to have good relations with the United States. However, Obama said, "He taps into a nationalism that worries his neighbors." He said Xi's rise has been comparable to that of Deng Xiaoping, who led China from 1978 to 1992. During the meeting with business leaders, Obama tackled a wide array of issues including Russia and Syria. Obama said he doubts Russian President Vladimir Putin will change course until politics catch up with the rough economic situation in Russia. "I think the situation in Ukraine caught him by surprise. He has been improvising himself into a nationalist backward looking approach to Russian policy that is scaring the heck out of his neighbors and badly damaging his economy and sanctions are having a big bite on their economy," Obama said. Obama also praised western powers for their unified approach to sanctions. The president also addressed the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. "I'm confident in our ability to push ISIL back in Iraq but Syria is a broader and longer term, more difficult, long term proposition."