The nation's most influential Chinese-Americans gathered in San Francisco on Friday, and next week's visit by China's President Hu Jintao was on many of their minds.
"This will be an opportunity for more dialogs between President Obama and President Hu on issues that currencies and global situations," Rep. Judy Chu, D-San Gabriel, said.
Chinese relations have been strained in recent months by a spate of international incidents that stem from an environmental confrontation in Copenhagen over global warming to a fight with Google over Internet freedom.
China has been flexing its political muscle and its role as a nuclear power, most recently reacting sharply to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan at a time when the U.S. wants china to back nuclear sanctions against Iran.
"The gravest danger facing the world today is a nuclear detonation," former Secretary of Defense William Perry said.
Perry told the crowd he fears nuclear weapons will end up in the hands of extremists.
"It's important in this nuclear field that we work together and particularly the United States and China," he said.
The talks won't be just about arms, but the economy as well. China owns a huge amount this country's national debt and they have started selling it.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is in China now. He's paving the way for a discussion over claims that China has been manipulating its currency, making it nearly impossible for the U.S. to export goods to China.
"The Chinese starting to say buy Chinese only. They've created their own solutions or indigenous innovations," Sybase CEO John Chen said.
Chen is among those who are optimistic that compromises can ultimately be reached.
"I think both countries, the leaders are catering a little bit to domestic politics, both sides, and think they have a pretty pragmatic view on how all these issues are going to end up," Chen said.
The president's nuclear security summit begins Monday in Washington.
Written and produced by Ken Miguel