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Hu Jintao and Barack Obama, Remarks on Their Meetings and Joint Statement, Nov. 17, 2009

Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama spoke briefly before the release of their governments' joint statement.
November 17, 2009

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(Click here for their written joint statement.)

PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) Your Excellency President Obama, and dear friends from the news media, ladies and gentlemen: I'm very happy to meet our friends from the press and media. To begin with, I would like to extend on behalf of the Chinese government and people a warm welcome to President Obama on his state visit. Welcome to China.

Just now I had very good talks with President Obama. The two sides had in-depth exchange of views on how to further bilateral relationship and on major regional and international issues of shared interest. The two sides reached broad, important agreement. The talks were candid, constructive, and very fruitful.

Both President Obama and I believe that at present the international situation continues to undergo profound and complex changes. There are growing global challenges, and countries in today's world have become more and more interdependent. In this context, it is necessary to step up international cooperation.

Against this new backdrop, China and United States share extensive common interests and broad prospect for cooperation on a series of major issue important to mankind's peace and stability and development.

President Obama and I spoke positively of the progress made in the China-U.S. relationship since the new American administration took office. We both agreed to continue to adopt a strategic and long-term perspective, increase the dialogue exchanges and cooperation, and work together to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century. We also agreed to take concrete actions to steadily grow a partnership between the two countries to meet our common challenges in order to contribute to world peace, stability, and prosperity.

We both believe and maintain close high-level exchanges and dialogue and consultations at various other levels are essential to the growth of China relations. The two sides agreed that the leaders of the two countries will continue to stay in close touch through mutual visits, telephone conversations, correspondence, and meetings of multilateral fora.

The two sides spoke positively of the important role of the China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogues mechanism in enhancing the mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries. The two sides will continue to follow through on the outcomes of the first round of the China-U.S. strategic and economic dialogues held in July this year. And we will start as early as possible to make preparations for the second round to be held in summer next year in Beijing.

We also exchanged views on the current international economic and financial situation, and we believed that now the world economy has shown some positive signs of stabilizing and recovery. But the foundation for this recovery is not firmly established. The two sides reiterated that they will continue to increase dialogue and cooperation in macroeconomic and financial policies, and they will continue to have consultations on an equal footing to properly resolve and address the economic and trade frictions in a joint effort to uphold the sound and steady growth of their business ties and trade.

I stressed to President Obama that under the current circumstances, our two countries need to oppose and reject protectionism in all its manifestations in an even stronger stand.

We both positively spoke of the important role of the G20 summit in tackling the international financial crisis. Our two countries will work with other members and comprehensively follow through on the outcomes of the various summits. We will also work together to continuously strengthen the role of G20 in global economic governance, advance the reform of international financial system, and improve the global economic governance to ward off and guard against future financial or economic crisis.

We agreed to expand our cooperation on climate change, energy, and environment. We also agreed to act on the basis of the principle of the common but differentiated responsibilities and consistent with our respective capabilities to work with other parties concerned to help produce positive outcomes out of the Copenhagen conference.

The complementing departments of China and the United States have already signed a number of cooperation agreements, including the MOU to enhanced cooperation on climate change, energy and environment. The two sides have also officially launched the initiative of developing a China-U.S. clean energy research center.

Both President Obama and I said that we are willing to act on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity to deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement, science, technology, outer space, civil aviation, and engage in cooperation in space exploration, high-speed railway infrastructure, in agriculture, health, and other fields. And we also agreed to work together to continue to promote even greater progress in the growth of military-to-military ties.

We also discussed how to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries, particularly the youth exchanges. And we are supportive of the establishment of a people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism, and we agreed to strengthen our cooperation in exchanging students.

Both of us said that we will remain committed to dialogue and consultations in resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. And such approach serves the common interests of China, the United States, and other parties concerned. The two sides will work with other parties concerned to continue the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula and six-party talks process in a bid to uphold the peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

We both stressed that to uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and to appropriately resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations is very important to stability in the Middle East and in the Gulf region.

During the talks, I underlined to President Obama that given our differences in national conditions, it is only normal that our two sides may disagree on some issues. What is important is to respect and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns.

President Obama on various occasions has reiterated that the U.S. side adheres to the one-China policy, abides by the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, and respects China's sovereignty and the territorial integrity when it comes to the Taiwan question and other matters. The Chinese side appreciates his statements.

The two sides reaffirmed the fundamental principle of respecting each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Neither side supports any attempts by any force to undermine this principle. We will continue to act in the spirit of equality, mutual respect, and a noninterference in each other's internal affairs, and engage in dialogue and exchanges on such issues as human rights and religion in order to enhance understanding, reduce differences, and broaden common ground.

Ladies and gentlemen, the China-U.S. relationship is very important. To preserve and promote the growth of this relationship is a shared responsibility for both China and the United States. The Chinese side is willing to work with the U.S. side to ensure the sustained, sound, and steady growth of this relationship to the greater benefits of peoples of our two countries and people throughout the world.

Thank you all. Now we would like to give the microphone to President Obama.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon. I want to start by thanking President Hu and the Chinese people for the warmth and hospitality that they have shown myself and our delegation since we arrived. We had a wonderful day in Shanghai yesterday, a wonderful discussion with China's young men and women, and I'm looking forward to the conversations we'll have and the sights that we'll see here in Beijing over the next two days.

We meet here at a time when the relationship between the United States and China has never been more important to our collective future. The major challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to nuclear proliferation to economic recovery, are challenges that touch both our nations, and challenges that neither of our nations can solve by acting alone.

That's why the United States welcomes China's efforts in playing a greater role on the world stage -- a role in which a growing economy is joined by growing responsibilities. And that's why President Hu and I talked about continuing to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship between our nations.

As President Hu indicated, we discussed what's required to sustain this economic recovery so that economic growth is followed by the creation of new jobs and lasting prosperity. So far China's partnership has proved critical in our effort to pull ourselves out of the worst recession in generations.

Going forward, we agreed to advance the pledge made at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and pursue a strategy of more balanced economic growth -- a strategy where America saves more, spends less, reduces our long-term debt, and where China makes adjustments across a broad range of policies to rebalance its economy and spur domestic demand. This will lead to increased U.S. exports and jobs, on the one hand, and higher living standards in China on the other.

As President Hu indicated, we also agreed that maintaining open market and free flows of commerce in both our nations will contribute to our shared prosperity. And I was pleased to note the Chinese commitment, made in past statements, to move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate over time. I emphasized in our discussions, and have others in the region, that doing so based on economic fundamentals would make an essential contribution to the global rebalancing effort.

President Hu and I also made progress on the issue of climate change. As the two largest consumers and producers of energy, there can be no solution to this challenge without the efforts of both China and the United States. That's why we've agreed to a series of important new initiatives in this area. As President Hu indicated, we are creating a joint clean energy research center, and have achieved agreements on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner uses of coal, electric vehicles, and shale gas.

We also agreed to work toward a successful outcome in Copenhagen. Our aim there, in support of what Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark is trying to achieve, is not a partial accord or a political declaration, but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations, and one that has immediate operational effect. This kind of comprehensive agreement would be an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution to our climate challenge. And we agreed that each of us would take significant mitigation actions and stand behind these commitments.

On the issue of nonproliferation, President Hu and I discussed our shared commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and I told him how appreciative I am of China's support for the global nonproliferation regime as well as the verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

We agreed on the importance of resuming the six-party talks as soon as possible. As I said in Tokyo, North Korea has a choice: It can continue down the path of confrontation and provocation that has led to less security, less prosperity, and more isolation from the global community, or it can choose to become a full member of the international community, which will give a better life to its people by living up to international obligations and foregoing nuclear weapons.

In the same way, we agreed that the Islamic Republic of Iran must provide assurances to the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful and transparent. On this point, our two nations and the rest of our P5-plus-1 partners are unified. Iran has an opportunity to present and demonstrate its peaceful intentions, but if it fails to take this opportunity there will be consequences.

President Hu and I also discussed our mutual interest in security and stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan. And neither country can or should be used as a base for terrorism, and we agreed to cooperate more on meeting this goal, including bringing about more stable, peaceful relations in all of South Asia.

Finally, as I did yesterday in Shanghai, I spoke to President Hu about America's bedrock beliefs that all men and women possess certain fundamental human rights. We do not believe these principles are unique to America, but rather they are universal rights and that they should be available to all peoples, to all ethnic and religious minorities. And our two countries agreed to continue to move this discussion forward in a human rights dialogue that is scheduled for early next year.

As President Hu indicated, the United States respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. And once again, we have reaffirmed our strong commitment to a one-China policy.

We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences that the two sides may have. We also applauded the steps that the People's Republic of China and Taiwan have already taken to relax tensions and build ties across the Taiwan Strait.

Our own policy, based on the three U.S.-China communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, supports the further development of these ties -- ties that are in the interest of both sides, as well as the broader region and the United States.

These are just some of the issues that President Hu and I discussed. But we also know that the relationship between our two nations goes far beyond any single issue. In this young century, the jobs we do, the prosperity we build, the environment we protect, the security that we seek, all these things are shared.

Given that interconnection, I do not believe that one country's success must come at the expense of another. That's why the United States welcomes China as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations.

Our relationship going forward will not be without disagreement or difficulty. But because of our cooperation, both the United States and China are more prosperous and secure. We've seen what's possible when we build upon our mutual interests and engage on the basis of equality and mutual respect. And I very much look forward to deepening that engagement and understanding during this trip and in the months and years to come.

MODERATOR: This concludes the meeting with the news media. Thank you.

White House video of the remarks:




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