Seoul: US President Barack Obama and
China`s President Hu Jintao pledged to work together on Thursday,
following a rocky period of trade and currency spats coupled
with diplomatic shadow-boxing in Asia.
The leaders, meeting in Seoul, put on a public show of
comity in their seventh one-one-one talks since Obama took
office, in an encounter expected to smooth the way for Hu`s
state visit to Washington in January.
US officials said the 80-minute meeting was dominated
by divisions over exchange rate policy and the need to improve
the atmosphere of the broader US-China relationship ahead of
Obama said that it was "wonderful" to see Hu again,
and argued that as leading economic and nuclear powers, both
nations had an obligation to work together to halt
proliferation and to ensure strong, balanced growth.
Hu said in a brief photo-op ahead of the talks on the
sidelines of a G20 summit that China was ready to work with
Washington to "increase dialogue, exchanges and cooperation,"
and said he hoped his US visit would be a success.
However the two sides have been at loggerheads over a
broad range of issues for months, especially economic, and
Obama`s reinvigoration of US engagement in China`s backyard in
Asia may also strain ties.
Washington has become increasingly impatient with
China`s so-far limited efforts to allow the value of its yuan
currency to rise. US officials say the unit`s value is kept
artificially low to boost Chinese exports.
Beijing meanwhile has been leading global criticism at
the US Federal Reserve`s plan to pump USD 600 billion into the
US economy, arguing Washington is risking the global recovery
in its own search for growth.
China suggested that the G20 should monitor policy
shifts by the US central bank and was also furious at Obama`s
decision to praise the Nobel committee for awarding its annual
peace prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo.
However, Washington has in the past year praised China
for signing on to toughened UN sanctions against Iran and sees
Beijing as a key player in the North Korean nuclear crisis.
With those disputes in mind, Obama said today the
US-China relationship was stronger and broader than it had
been in the past, because their talks now ranged over global
issues as well as bilateral ones.
"As two leading nuclear powers obviously we have (a)
special obligation to deal with nuclear proliferation," Obama
said at the meeting in a Seoul hotel.
"As two of the world`s leading economies we have a
special obligation to deal with ensuring strong balance and