U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for a new era of cooperation
between the United States and China. Mr. Obama says despite their
differences, there are key areas where the two countries can and must
President Obama says Washington and Beijing must cooperate to tackle the big problems facing the world.
relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st
century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in
the world," the president said. "That really must underpin our
partnership. That is the responsibility that together we bear."
president spoke to high-level American and Chinese officials as they
launched a two-day meeting in Washington. The U.S. China Strategic and
Economic Dialogue is to discuss a broad agenda from currency concerns
to foreign policy.
The president said the officials must work
together to tackle worldwide challenges, including the global economic
recession, climate change, and the spread of nuclear weapons.
He made specific mention of Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs.
America nor China has an interest in a terrorist acquiring a bomb, or a
nuclear arms race breaking out in East Asia," Mr. Obama said. "That is
why we must continue our collaboration to achieve the denuclearization
of the Korean peninsula, and make it clear to North Korea that the path
to security and respect can be traveled if they meet their obligations."
Obama also talked about the need to confront threats that transcend
borders. He talked about intelligence sharing to dismantle terror
networks, and the establishment of early warning systems to check the
spread of dangerous diseases.
"All of these issues are rooted in
the fact that no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century
on its own, nor effectively advance its interests in isolation. It is
this fundamental truth that compels us to cooperate," President Obama
The president said he is under no illusion the United
States and China will agree on every issue, or always see the world in
the same way. And he made clear that he will continue to speak out
about human rights.
"Just as we respect China's ancient and
remarkable culture, its remarkable achievements, we also strongly
believe that the religion and culture of all peoples must be respected
and protected, and that all people should be free to speak their
minds," he said. "That includes ethnic and religious minorities in
China, as surely as it includes minorities within the United States."
Obama stressed that it is these differences that make dialogue even
more important. He said these discussions give the two sides a chance
to get to know each other better and communicate concerns with candor.
of State Hillary Clinton is officially hosting the talks along with
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier
Wang Qishan told the gathering there are hopeful signs that the world
economy is on the mend.