CHINA -- January 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM EDT
Presidents Obama, Hu Emphasize Cooperation in Joint News Conference
President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao answered reporters' questions in a news conference at the White House Wednesday after meeting with business leaders from both countries. Both presidents emphasized cooperation and the need for a positive relationship between the two powers.
Economic issues dominated the conversation, although both leaders implied disagreements involving currency and trade remained unresolved. The U.S. has insisted that the renminbi is undervalued, and pressed China to let its currency float.
President Obama called China "one of the top markets for American exports," and emphasized that "trade has to be fair."
"China's rise offers enormous economic opportunity," he said, then added, "we want to sell you all kinds of stuff," drawing laughter from the room.
In response to the global economic crisis, President Hu said, via translator, that "our two sides have acted in the spirit of cooperation" and should "row in the same direction" to solve international issues.
President Hu said their meeting had taken place in a "candid, pragmatic and constructive atmosphere," in which the two sides had an "in-depth exchange of views." He said the dialogue injected "fresh momentum" to the bilateral relationship.
The question of human rights was raised, and delicately answered. President Hu said China "is always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights," but said that "we have to take into account the different national circumstances" and called for "noninterference in each other's internal affairs." President Obama said he had "been very candid with President Hu about these issues," and that China has made progress. "My expectation is that 30 years from now we will have seen further evolution and further change," he said.
Without specifics, both sides reiterated their commitment to discouraging North Korea's nuclear weapons development and easing tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Going forward, President Obama said the two sides should "not view every issue through the lens of rivalry," and that the U.S. welcomes China's rise, provided it "reinforces international norms."
Read more about the visit here.