Obama and Hu pledge closer cooperation

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao today vowed to co-operate more closely on critical issues ranging from increasing trade between the world’s two largest economies to fighting terrorism.

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao today vowed to co-operate more closely on critical issues ranging from increasing trade between the world’s two largest economies to fighting terrorism.

But they also stood fast on their differences, especially over human rights.

Mr Obama acknowledged that differences on rights were “an occasional source of tension between our two governments”.

He said at a joint news conference with Mr Hu at the White House: “We have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly.”

Mr Obama said he drove that home forcefully in his discussions with the Chinese leader, but “that doesn’t prevent us from co-operating in these other critical areas”.

For Mr Hu’s part, he declined to respond to an American reporter’s question on human rights differences between the two countries.

In a sign of the growing economic bonds between the two superpowers, Mr Obama said the countries had made business deals that would mean $45bn (€33bn) in new US exports.

Mr Obama also said China was taking significant steps to curtail the theft of intellectual property and expand US investment.

Mr Obama said China had become “one of the top markets for American exports” and that these exports have helped to support half a million US jobs.

Mr Hu said he and the American leader had agreed to “share expanding common interests”.

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