The United States and China unveiled $45 billion in export deals yesterday as Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao sought to paper over deep rifts about trade, money and security.
Obama and Hu vowed to seek common ground as they launched talks aimed at easing the strains of the past year over North Korea, economic imbalances, human rights, Taiwan, Tibet and a host of other issues.
Welcoming Hu to the White House, Obama hailed the event as a chance to demonstrate that the world’s two biggest economic powers “have an enormous stake in each other’s success.”
Obama wants the visit to help highlight his efforts to boost the struggling U.S. economy and cut unemployment that has been persistently above 9 percent.
Gently raising China’s human rights record, Obama said: “History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are successful and the world is more just when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.”
Hu said he had come to “enhance mutual trust” and open a new chapter in relations but signaled he would bristle at any effort to push China on its currency practices, human rights and other disputes that it deems to be domestic matters.
Hu has been reluctant to give ground to U.S. demands to intensify pressure on China’s ally, North Korea, to abandon its nuclear ambitions.