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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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 Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs