Obama: Committed to working with China

Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama assured Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a meeting in Cambodia Tuesday of his commitment to working with Beijing.

Obama, who wrapped up his three-nation Asia tour Tuesday, met the Chinese leader on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh.

Saying it was "good to see" the Chinese leader again after their previous meeting at the East Asia Summit in Bali last year, Obama said, "It is very important that we use multilateral meetings like the EAS to discuss shared regional and global challenges, and I'm committed to working with China and I'm committed to working with Asia."

Obama, whose new Asia-Pacific "pivot" has raised concerns in China, reminded it was important for the United States and China to cooperate to build a more secure and prosperous future for the Asia Pacific region and for the world.

The two leaders discussed the importance of the United States and China "consistently maintaining our cooperation on a bilateral, regional and global level," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications during a news briefing.

The two leaders also discussed security issues, economic issues and regional stability, "reaffirming that China is a part of our engagement here in this important region -- a critical part of that engagement; and our interest, again, in resolving territorial disputes and maritime disputes consistent with international rules of the road," Rhodes said.

During the media opportunity, Obama said he and Wen worked "very closely together on our bilateral and global economic problems," and that, as the two largest economies in the world, "we have a special responsibility to lead the way in ensuring sustained and balanced growth, not only here in Asia but globally."

Rhodes noted this would be the last meeting between Wen and Obama because Wen is moving out of his role next year. The quinquennial national congress of the Chinese Communist Party ended last week with a new Politburo Standing Committee installed under the leadership of 59-year-old Xi Jinping, who will take over from President Hu Jintao. Li Keqiang, 57, will succeed Wen.

"I'm sure this will be another honest and constructive conversation and will help to continue the process of strengthening the relationship between China and the United States," Obama said of the leadership transition.

Wen congratulated Obama on his re-election and conveyed the good wishes of Hu and Xi.

"Mr. President, you have set out your vision on many occasions that you want to lead the United States to address various challenges more effectively, in particular to revitalize the economy, to create more jobs, and to enhance international security and cooperation. I wish you all the best," Wen said.

"The long-term sound and steady growth of China-U.S. relations serves the fundamental interests of both countries," Wen said. "It is also important for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and the world."

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