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Obama Stresses Relationship With China

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President Obama, opening U.S. talks with a high-level delegation of Chinese government officials, said Monday that ties between the two countries are "as important as any bilateral relationship in the world." (Associated Press.)

Updated 12:10 p.m.
By Glenn Kessler
President Obama opened a high-level U.S.-China meeting today by declaring that the two countries share a joint responsibility for the 21st century and should strive to cooperate on key issues such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, transnational threats and the world economy.

"The pursuit of power among nations must no longer be seen as a zero-sum game," he said at a meeting at the Ronald Reagan building co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. "Progress -- including security -- must be shared."

China has sent about 200 top officials to Washington for the two days of talks, led by State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Vice Premier Wang Qishan. Many members of Obama's Cabinet will also join in the talks, which are an elevated version of a dialogue first started during the Bush administration. Obama laid out an ambitious agenda, calling for a "future when our nations are partners out of necessity, but also out of opportunity."

Dai, speaking at the opening of the meeting, noted that the two countries are separated by huge differences in culture, ideology and social systems but that the economic crisis demonstrated "we are actually all in the same big boat that has been hit by fierce wind and huge waves."

As China's economy has boomed, so has its international clout, though Obama acknowledged that world financial institutions must be overhauled to better reflect China's new role in the world economy. With the revenue generated by huge trade surpluses with the United States -- and policies that keep its currency artificially low -- Beijing is the largest single investor in U.S. Treasury bonds. That $1.5 trillion stake means that China is critical to Obama's efforts to boost the U.S. economy through deficit spending, though Chinese officials have expressed worry that the value of their holdings will fall if the U.S. deficit is not brought under control.

Geithner, addressing the meeting, stressed the administration is "committed to taking the necessary measures to bring our fiscal deficits down to a more sustainable level once recovery is firmly established." He also praised Chinese leaders for their efforts to boost domestic consumption, which he said "will be a huge contribution to our global challenge in bringing about a more rapid but more balanced and sustainable global recovery."

Neither Obama nor Geithner publicly touched on the sensitive issue of China's firm grip on the value of the Yuan. But Obama notably devoted a few paragraphs of his remarks to gently prodding China's human rights record. "We also strongly believe that the religious and culture of all peoples must be respected and protected, and that all people should be free to speak their minds," he said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, in a written message, said that China and the United States "shoulder important responsibilities on a host of major issues concerning peace and development." He said the delegations should "conduct consultations in an equal and candid manner" in order to "seek win-win progress."

No major breakthroughs are expected at this week's meetings, but Obama said he hoped to make his first visit to China soon to continue the dialogue.

A complete transcript of Obama's remarks can be read here.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 27, 2009; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  Video Report  
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What keeps China from having a broader relation with the United States is this is a country founded on civil laws, and China believes its those laws that ultimately becomes the separation for a classist society, the investment that leads to unlawful coffers. China is founded on natural laws and anything that is not in brotherhood with these laws is a crime. The Red Book has been widely read in this country and we now know media can be an instrument either to build or to destroy, it becomes meditation for the soul.The ultimate battle Good verses evil.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | July 27, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The only thing Obama can do to attract the serious Chinese attention is the developed way to eliminate current world oil and gas dependency. Otherwise,no matter what Obama and his SoS are saying or even offering the offers of countries, like Russia, and Venezuela, rich with gas and oil, are much more attractive than American offers. It is clear and obvious.

Posted by: aepelbaum | July 27, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

We're well past the era where trying to reform China's domestic
repressions via sanctions, was any kind of option. Far too
interconnected now commercially - like cutting off your own arm.

The only chance is for the political message to be carried over via
the trade relations, which become more numerous all the time.
Ultimately, the Chinese people will not be satisfied with the devil's
bargain of prosperity which the present regime has made with them.
It will be time for personal freedoms to arrive, and then the Poliburo's
days will be numbered.

I blog on WaPo because of very good content - some great writers
on here. I would like to recruit a couple of you, as collaborators for a
brand new world-issues forum site. Have a look / jump onboard at;


Posted by: straightmedia | July 27, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Is this the prelude to Obama selling out Taiwan?

Posted by: MARKM2 | July 27, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey Obama. When you get trough kissing the Chinese' collective arses, be sure to make some inane remark to show off your grossly arrogant ineptness.
What an incompetent embarrassment Obama is.

Posted by: LarryG62 | July 27, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse



Please emphasize the issue of product safety and quality. The health and well-being of the American public are endangered by shoddy and dangerous Chinese goods, from toxic drywall to lead-coated toys and consumer items.

Which raises the question: Is the issue of dangerous Chinese products their version of "warfare by other means"? Is America being consumed, literally, by the Chinese import dragon?

The American public needs protection. Perhaps a stiff tariff should be imposed on Chinese goods, to encourage domestic production. That's anti- "free-trade," but given Chinese indifference to product safety, perhaps a return to good, old-fashioned American protectionism is in order.

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 27, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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