|Chinese President Hu Jintao (2nd L) holds a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R) at the White House in Washington, the United States, Jan. 19, 2011. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)|
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — China and the United States have agreed to further boost their bilateral relationship toward a cooperative partnership for the benefit of the whole world, President Hu Jintao said Wednesday.
The visiting Chinese leader presented the course forward at a joint press conference at the White House with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama following their eighth meeting in two years.
During the talks, conducted in “a candid, pragmatic and constructive atmosphere,” the two sides reached “important agreement on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of shared interests,” according to the Chinese president.
“We both agree to further push forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship,” Hu said, adding that both sides also pledged to forge “a China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit” for the benefit of the two countries and beyond.
Meanwhile, the two sides “should firmly adhere to the right direction,” respecting each other’s core interests and handling their relations with a long-term perspective, which will enable both countries to make greater contributions to world peace and development, he said.
Citing the growing number of global challenges, the Chinese president stressed that Beijing and Washington “share expanding common interests and shoulder increasing common responsibilities.”
Accordingly, he added, the two sides have agreed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in economy, trade, environment, education, science and technology, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism among many other fields.
During Hu’s ongoing state visit, the two countries signed a number of cooperation agreements. “These will inject fresh momentum into our bilateral cooperation and create a great many job opportunities for our two countries,” Hu said.
He added that he and Obama also discussed some disagreements in the economic and trade area, with both sides pledging “to continue to appropriately resolve these according to the principle of mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing.”
Commenting on the relations between the countries’s armed forces, Hu said, “We believe expansion of military exchanges and cooperation will be conducive to deepening mutual trust between our two countries.”
On the situation on the Korean Peninsula, he said that both countries agreed to work together with relevant parties to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula, promote denuclearization of the peninsula and achieve lasting peace and security in Northeast Asia.
The Chinese leader reaffirmed China’s firm commitment to the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening up, and appreciated Obama’s commitment to a positive and constructive China policy.
“China is a friend and partner of all countries, and China’s development is an opportunity for the world,” he said.
For his part, Obama said that his country welcomes China’s rise and that cooperation between the two countries is good for the two sides and for the whole world.
“Along with our G20 partners, we’ve moved from the brink of catastrophe to the beginning of global economic recovery,” he said, referring to the latest international financial crisis.
Noting that China is one of the top markets for U.S. exports, Obama said that annual U.S. exports to China in goods and services support “more than half a million American jobs.”
He also lauded China’s extraordinary economic growth that “has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” and expressed satisfaction with the dozens of deals between the two sides that will increase U.S. exports “by more than 45 billion U.S. dollars.”
The U.S. president also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the one-China policy.
CHINA COMMITTED TO PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
China is always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and has made enormous progress in this regard, Hu told the press conference.
“China recognizes and respects the universality of human rights. And at the same time, we do believe that we also need to take into account the different national circumstances when it comes to the universal value of human rights,” he said.
Noting that China is a developing country with a huge population and in a crucial stage of reform, Hu said that China faces many challenges in its socioeconomic development and that “a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights.”
“We will continue our efforts to improve the living standards of the Chinese people and will continue our efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law in our country,” Hu said.
China, he added, is also willing to conduct exchanges and dialogues with other countries on human rights on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
“In this way, we’ll be able to further increase our mutual understanding, reduce our disagreements and expand our common ground,” Hu said.
PROMOTE PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE EXCHANGES
During their talks, the two presidents also agreed to take positive steps to further increase people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, Hu said.
Stressing that exchanges between the two peoples represent the basis and the driving force behind the growth of China-U.S. relationship, he said that robust bilateral people-to-people exchanges have helped promote the steady growth of China-U.S. relations.
“Each year we have about 3 million people traveling between our two countries. In other words, on every single day about 7,000 to 8,000 people are traveling between China and the United States,” Hu said.
He added that the Chinese government supports the friendly exchanges between the two peoples and has been creating all kinds of conditions to expand such programs.
“I would like to particularly stress here that the young people hold the future of this relationship,” Hu said, adding that the two sides will encourage the young people in the two countries to go to each other’s countries to pursue further education and learn more about each other.
The two countries will also further expand cultural exchanges, develop tourism and use a variety of means to further increase people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese president said.
COOPERATE TO MEET GLOBAL CHALLENGES
Answering a question from Xinhua on the two countries’ cooperative approaches to global challenges, Hu reaffirmed that China and the United States should work together to tackle global problems.
“It is all the more necessary for China and the United States to strengthen their cooperation to meet such challenges,” including terrorism, human security and international financial crises, he said.
The two countries, he emphasized, should also join hands in addressing regional hotspots, fighting transnational crimes, combating piracy and preventing and treating communicable diseases.
The Chinese leader put forward a three-point proposal for both countries to do a better job in this regard: to keep up the in-the-same-boat spirit of cooperation, to increase communication and coordination and to respect and accommodate each other’s interests and concerns.
Obama, for his part, said that the more the two nations can build a baseline of trust, the more likely they are able to solve frictions or irritants in a more constructive way.
“It’s so important that not only governments but people in both countries understand the challenges that each country faces and not view every issue through the lens of rivalry,” he said.
The Chinese president arrived in Washington on Tuesday for a four-day state visit to the United States. Prior to Wednesday’s talks, he was greeted with a full-pomp welcome ceremony at the White House.
Hu said at the ceremony that his visit is aimed at increasing mutual trust, enhancing friendship, deepening cooperation and pushing forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century.
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Hu Jintao at the White House.
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