SEOUL, March 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama said the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul provides an opportunity for the United States and China to build on their improving relations.
"I think this is also an opportunity to build on the excellent cooperation and dialogue across all the dimensions of our relationship that we've been able to establish over the last three years," Obama said Monday before talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
In a transcript of Obama's remarks, he said discussions would touch on economic and commercial issues, ensuring "there is strong mutual understanding about the potential benefits of commerce between our two nations, in accordance with the international rules and norms."
The summit "shows the progress that the international community has made in preventing nuclear proliferation and making sure that we've secured nuclear materials," Obama said. "And I know that's in the interest of both the United States and China."
The bilateral meeting also allowed the United States and China to discuss a number of international issues, including the denuclearization of North Korea, Iran and the situation in the Middle East.
China, along with Russia, has blocked U.N. efforts to sanction or criticize Syrian President Bashar Assad for the crackdown on anti-government protests that began a year ago. China and Russia are trading partners with Syria.
"In all of these issues, I think cooperation and coordination between the United States and China is very important," Obama said, "not only to the interest of our two countries but to the interest of the world."