Obama Calls for Increased Cooperation with China
Published: November 17, 2009
On his second day in China, President Obama met in private with President Hu Jintao on Tuesday to discuss climate change, nuclear proliferation and the world economy. Afterwards, Obama called for closer cooperation between the two countries, the New York Times reports.
The leaders held a joint press conference and said both countries agreed on several issues. The focus of the day was how to increase collaboration between the two countries and Obama avoided sensitive human rights issues, like Tibet or the unrest in Xinjiang.
The leaders did not mention either topics that are dividing both countries. For instance, efforts from the U.S. to allow the renmibi – the country’s currency – to float freely and impose sanctions on Iran are both opposed by China.
The meeting came the day after Mr. Obama tried to hold a frank and public discussion with Chinese students in Shanghai. The event was called a town hall, but Mr. Obama’s meeting with about 500 students had little in common with the sometimes raucous exchanges that have become a fixture of American politics.
It was, instead, an example of Chinese stagecraft. Most of those who attended the event at the Museum of Science and Technology turned out to be members of the Communist Youth League, an official organization that grooms obedient students for future leadership posts.
At the Shanghai forum, Mr. Obama was asked only one question — “Should we be able to use Twitter freely?” — that delved into an area the Chinese government considers controversial.
His cautious answer stood out as a sign that he hopes to reach China’s youth without offending its increasingly influential leaders. He delivered an oblique critique of China’s rigid controls and restrictions on the Internet and free speech without mentioning that China practices online censorship as a matter of policy.
This is Obama’s second visit to China this year. The country is the largest foreign lender to the U.S.
AP Photo via the Wall Street Journal