Washington: Amidst hacking row and US` push in the Pacific region, President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday met for the first time at a California resort where they discussed a host of prickly issues and called for a new approach to ties between Washington and Beijing.
Setting the tone prior to their meeting in Palm Springs today, Obama welcomed the "peaceful rise" of China as a world power.
"The United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China as a world power and that, in fact, is in the United States` interest that China continues on the path of success, because we believe that a peaceful and stable and prosperous China is not only good for Chinese but also good for the world and for the United States," Obama said alongside Xi ahead of their first bilateral meeting.
Asserting that China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development, Xi called for co-operation rather than confrontation among major powers of the world.
"President Obama and I both believe that in the age of economic globalisation and facing the objective need of countries sticking together in the face of difficulties, China and the United States must find a new path -- one that is different from the inevitable confrontation and conflict between the major countries of the past," Xi said.
"That is to say the two sides must work together to build a new model of major country relationship based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the benefit of the Chinese and American peoples, and people elsewhere in the world," the Chinese President told reporters.
Noting that the international community looks to China and the United States to deliver this, Xi said when the two countries work together, they can be an anchor for world stability and the propeller of world peace.
Xi said he told Obama that China will be firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and China will be firm in deepening reform and opening up the country wider to the world.
The two leaders discussed a host of issues including cyber security.
Both agreed to work together on the crucial cyber security
issues, which has now emerged as one of the major issues of tension between the two countries.
While Xi said that cyber security can actually be an area for China and the United States to work together with each other in a "pragmatic way", Obama said issues like hacking or theft, are not issues that are unique to the US-China relationship, but those are of international concern.
"The Chinese government is firm in upholding cyber security and we have major concerns about cyber security," Xi said.
He said the two sides will work hard to make progress in the various bilateral mechanisms, such as the strategic and economic dialogue and the high-level consultation on people-to-people exchange.
"We should also improve and strengthen the military-to-military relationship between the two countries and promote the building of a new model of military relationship between the two sides," Xi said.
Obama in his answer to reporter`s questions emphasised on military to military relationship between the two countries.
"In the past, we`ve had high-level diplomatic communications about economic and strategic issues, but we haven`t always had as effective communications between our militaries," he said.
"And at a time when there`s so much activity around the world, it`s very important that we each understand our strategic objectives at the military as well as the political levels.
So that`s an example of concrete progress that can advance this new model of relations between the United States and China," Obama said, adding that they will be taking steps to institutionalise and regularise such discussions.
Earlier, keeping aside the formality, Obama and Xi appeared together on the grounds of the Sunnylands estate, walking outside in the 115-degree heat for a friendly handshake in front of the cameras.
Both wore dark suits, white dress shirts with open collars and no ties. They stood together smiling for a moment and then shook hands before walking together inside.