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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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