Obama Prods China to Take Global Role on Climate (Updated)

President Obama arrived in Beijing today for talks with President Hu and others. From AP:

Obama is strongly suggesting that China, now a giant in economic impact as well as territory, must take a bigger role on such issues as global warming. He is also prodding the Chinese on freedom and Internet controls.

“I will tell you, other countries around the world will be waiting for us,” Obama said in an American-style town-hall discussion with Chinese university students in Shanghai, where he spent a day before flying to China’s capital for a state visit with President Hu.

As China moves haltingly toward greater global activity, Obama said, “That is the burden of leadership that both of our countries now carry.”

Eager to achieve a successful summit, the two leaders were likely to avoid public spats on economic issues. With America’s budget deficit soaring to a yearly record of $1.42 trillion, China is the No. 1 lender to Washington and has expressed concern that the falling price of the dollar threatens the value of its U.S. holdings.


Bloomberg reports
on the meeting between Obama and Hu:

President Barack Obama meets again with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, today to continue what the U.S. leader called “a meeting of the minds” about how their nations can lead on global issues.

During a town-hall session with university students yesterday in Shanghai, Obama said a deeper relationship between the U.S. and China is critical to economic growth in both countries and essential to confronting global issues such as climate change. The agenda will also include discussions on trade, currency, the global economy, North Korea and Iran.

In China for his first-ever visit, Obama arrived in Beijing last night and had dinner with the Chinese president at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse — in the same villa where then- President Richard Nixon stayed during his landmark 1972 visit to China — before more formal meetings later today at which they’ll take up the substantive issues between the two nations.

Read about and watch Obama’s town hall meeting with students in Shanghai, via CDT.

Update: Talks between Presidents Hu and Obama have concluded and the two recently concluded a press conference at which no questions were taken. Live tweets of the press conference can be read at #obamacn. From the Washington Post:

Reflecting the broad range of issues that have come to characterize relations between the two countries, some of the sensitive topics that have dominated U.S.-Chinese talks in the past now seem further down the agenda.

China ritualistically complains about American support for Taiwan, for example. But now that China’s own economic links with Taiwan are deepening under the island’s Nationalist government, the two have established the first direct air links and tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased considerably.

Likewise, Obama is under the microscope on whether he intends to take up the issue of human rights more directly than he has so far. Human rights activists were alarmed when he did not meet with the Dalai Lama in Washington last month, and when Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared to play down the issue of human rights during her first official visit to Beijing as secretary of state eight months ago.

Reuters is also reporting the two sides have reached an agreements on climate change, developing green technologies, and dealing with North Korea.

November 16, 2009 12:38 PM
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