News / USA

Obama, Hu Have Candid Talks on Human Rights, Other Issues

President Barack Obama (r) during a joint news conference with China's President Hu Jintao in the East Room of the White House, 19 Jan, 2011
President Barack Obama (r) during a joint news conference with China's President Hu Jintao in the East Room of the White House, 19 Jan, 2011

President Barack Obama and China's President Hu Jintao have held wide ranging talks at the White House on the first full day of Mr. Hu's state visit.   The two men used a joint news conference to talk about trade relations, security issues, and human rights.

The talks covered the full range of issues in a relationship both leaders described as marked by great possibilities for cooperation on common interests, but also issues on which they disagree.

Speaking to reporters following bilateral talks and a meeting he and President Hu had with American and Chinese business executives, President Obama said it has been shown that when the U.S. and China cooperate they can achieve substantial benefits.

Mr. Obama said he told President Hu that the Chinese currency, the yuan, remains under-valued and requires further adjustment so China can boost domestic demand and move faster toward a more market-oriented economy.

The president said the U.S. recognizes the need to spend less and export more, and spoke about hopes for China further loosening controls on its currency.

"We will continue to look for the value of China's currency to be increasingly driven by the market which will help ensure that no nation has an undue economic advantage," said President Obama.

Among a wide range of regional and global issues, the two leaders discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula, cooperation on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, and the recent referendum in southern Sudan.  

A key focus was human rights.  Earlier, at the formal welcoming ceremony for President Hu,  President Obama issued a strong public call for respect for universal rights.

Mr. Obama later told reporters he made clear to President Hu the U.S. position on human rights, including freedom of speech, press, assembly, association and demonstration, and religion.

"The U.S. speaks up for these freedoms and the dignity of every human being, not only because it is part of who we are as Americans but we do so because we believe that by upholding these universal rights all nations including China will ultimately be more prosperous and successful," said Obama.

President Hu issued a strong defense of Beijing's policies, saying China is always committed to protection of human rights.  But he acknowledged that China, as a developing country still in stages of reform, knows more progress needs to be made.

"China still faces many challenges in economic and social development, and a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights," said President Hu.

Neither leader mentioned, nor did any reporter specifically ask about, whether they had discussed Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned dissident who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Across the street from the White House, a collection of groups protested Beijing's policies on everything from Tibet to religious freedom.

President Obama said on Wednesday that China's peaceful rise as a strong, prosperous and successful nation is good for the United States and good for the world.

As he and President Hu met with business leaders, Mr. Obama referred to a need to move away from stereotypes about the U.S.- China trade relationship, and focused on the goal of expanding U.S. exports to China.

"With China's growing middle class, I believe that over the coming years we can more than double our exports to China and create more jobs here in the United States, he said.

The White House issued a statement announcing a package of export deals to China worth about $45 billion, helping to support according to the White House an estimated 235,000 U.S. jobs.

As President Obama and President Hu were meeting at the White House, China's economic and human rights policies were being criticized in a hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Its chairwoman, Florida Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, criticized Beijing's policies on Iran and North Korea, and the South China Sea and for its treatment of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

The committee's ranking Democrat, Representative Howard Berman, praised China for its cooperation on sanctions against Iran, but said there is ample evidence that Chinese entities continue to invest in Iran’s energy sector.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More