Obama, China’s President to Hold Major Talks During State Visit
Washington — President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China will discuss global and regional security concerns, economic and trade issues, human rights and related bilateral issues during a one-day state visit January 19 at the White House.
This will be the eighth face-to-face meeting between Obama and Hu, says a senior White House official, and the president also has met three times with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. These meetings reflect a pace and intensity of engagement with Chinese leaders that illustrates the depth, breadth and importance of the U.S.-China relationship, he added.
The official said the first part of the talks between the two world leaders will focus on the U.S.-China relationship — where there is cooperation and where there isn’t, and where the relationship will develop over the next 10, 15 and 20 years. These talks are related to the U.S. presence in East Asia as well as China.
“We are absolutely determined ... to meet our commitments and obligations to the countries in the region; to be a reliable partner; to have the resources [present]; to be able to support our obligations and relationships with those countries,” he said. “We are an important source of security and balance in that region.”
“We are engaged in how to best pursue a positive, cooperative and contemplative relationship with China, pursuing our interests and pursuing interests we think are in the interest of the globe on so-called cross-cutting issues,” he said.
North Korea and its recent provocations will lead talks on security and political issues, the official said. The United States and China have worked on various sanctions regimes on North Korea, and have been working closely on encouraging the North Korean regime to cease provocations while trying to keep things in a diplomatic framework.
A second significant security issue will be Iran’s nuclear weapons development program, the official said. The United States and China have worked closely on sanctions regimes against Iran to move it away from a weapons development program, he said.
The Chinese have also worked closely on Sudan and the recent Southern Sudan referendum, which was part of the larger Comprehensive Peace Agreement. “The Chinese had referendum observers, and we continue to talk to the Chinese about how to handle the events after the North-South referendum,” the official added.
In addition, the United States and China have been working closely to restore military-to-military relations. Defense Secretary Robert Gates completed a five-day visit to China, Japan and South Korea January 9–14, and spent a significant amount of time with Chinese military and defense leaders.
“We have re-established that conversation at the highest level, and we’ll continue to work with the Chinese towards establishing a more regular dialogue on [military-to-military] relations,” the official said.
President Hu, in answering questions sent from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, said both nations stand to gain from a sound relationship and lose from confrontation.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at the same press briefing that trade and export concerns will be a significant part of the discussions. Coupled with that will be concerns about China’s currency valuation. Geithner said that China’s currency — the yuan — is still undervalued, and further adjustments will be necessary.
Hu arrives on the evening of January 18 in Washington and will be greeted by Vice President Biden and a U.S. delegation before traveling to the White House for a private dinner with President Obama, the White House official told reporters at a January 14 briefing. On January 19, Hu will be received at the White House in the morning, followed by a small meeting between the two leaders in the Oval Office and then an expanded meeting after that.
Obama and Hu will then attend a meeting with U.S. and Chinese business leaders in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is adjacent to the White House.
Hu will also meet with members of the U.S. Congress and make a speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the U.S.-China Business Council and several other organizations, the official said. Hu will stop in Chicago before returning to China.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)