Hu, Obama set new tone for relations

09:03, January 20, 2011      

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Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at the White House in Washington, the United States, Jan. 19, 2011. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Presidents of China and the U.S. pledged to increase cooperation between the world's two major powers, as they both believe the countries have enormous stake in each other's success.

Although differences remain between Washington and Beijing, President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama said that they ought to nurture better relations, for the benefit of a stable and secure world.

Speaking at a welcome ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Hu said it is China's hope to usher for a new chapter "in cooperation as partners" with the United States, as the two countries "share broad common interests and important common responsibilities."

With his eyes on re-election in 2012, President Obama is keen to fortify an anemic economic recovery at home. He repeatedly mentioned the touchy economic issues, saying at least twice that China's currency is "undervalued" and that bilateral trade ought to be conducted on a level playing field. Obama's top advisors have called on China to quicken currency appreciation, in their belief that a weaker U.S. dollar and a stronger Chinese yuan aid U.S. exports to China, the world's major market.

President Hu told a news conference that China's development benefits all, including the United States.

Chinese economists are already unhappy with U.S. Federal Reserve's excessive monetary easing policy, particularly the so-called "quantitative easing" policy, which has weakened U.S. dollar, leading to commodity price rises across-the-board and elevated inflation in the emerging economies, including China.

On a cold Wednesday morning, President Obama welcomed President Hu to the White House with an elaborate color-guard ceremony that included a colonial fife and drum band and a 21-gun salute.

The White House announced shortly after the welcome ceremony that the China's government had agreed to buy 200 airplanes from Boeing in a $19 billion deal, and multi-billion-dollar joint project to develop new energies.

"China and the U.S. should respected each other's choice of development path, and each other's core interests, " Hu said.

President Hu used his remarks to call for the United States and China to "adopt a long-term perspective, seek common ground while reserving differences and work together to achieve sustained, sound and steady development of our relations."

However, Obama sought to re-emphasize American views of human rights. "History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful and the world is more just, when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being."

On Wednesday, as Obama escorted Hu around the South Lawn for the customary reviewing of troops, they stopped to shake the hands of a small crowd of schoolchildren — including President Obama's 9-year-old daughter, Sasha — who were waving tiny American and Chinese flags.

Obama began his remarks to reporters Wednesday by harking back to the visit of another Chinese leader, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, in the winter of 1979, when President Jimmy Carter was in the White House, and the two countries engaged in what Obama called "the historic normalization" of relations.

"What Deng Xiaoping said long ago remains true today: There are still great possibilities for cooperation between our two countries," Obama said.

"The 30 years since (Deng's visit) has been a time of growing exchanges and understanding," Obama said. "With this visit, we can lay the foundation for the next 30 years."

Obama touted U.S.-China relations: "We have an enormous stake in each other's success."

"We want to sell you all kinds of stuff," Obama said to his Chinese guests, prompting laughter. "We want to sell you planes. We want to sell you cars. We want to sell you software." He also made clear: "I absolutely believe that China's peaceful rise is good for the world and it's good for America."

People's Daily Online

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