China got all the pomp and stature of a state visit, while President Obama came off as more assertive than he did during his Beijing visit in 2009. But tangible results of the summit are less certain.
As China and the US emerge from a year of diplomatic spats, Beijing appears more optimistic than Washington on what can come out of President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House this week.
Some security experts say the most urgent quest of our time is convincing Moscow to allow the US to defend the West with a missile defense shield.
The speed with which the fishing boat dispute turned ugly suggests how little has been achieved in China-Japan reconciliation over the past five years, say analysts.
The confrontation in disputed waters between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese Coast Guard vessels have quickly soured China-Japan relations. Neither governments appear ready to lose face in the standoff.
Actually, there could be limited fallout from the Russian spies case, some international experts say. For the most part, however, the ball is in Russia's court now.
A resolution in favor of a fourth round of Iran sanctions cleared the UN Security Council Wednesday, 12 to 2 (with one abstention). China and Russia, increasingly unhappy with Iran's noncooperation regarding its nuclear program, joined the majority.
Some agreement on new construction in Jerusalem is key to resuming peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Foreign countries slammed China for its harsh sentencing of a top dissident on Christmas Day and its execution of a mentally ill Briton convicted of drug smuggling, but the juggernaut appears impervious to criticism.
Iran rejected a UN-brokered nuclear deal Wednesday that would have sent its uranium stockpile abroad. The Obama administration is now under pressure to make good on its promises of 'consequences.'