Sunday 18 March 2018

Obama seeks 'balanced' trade as new China leader visits the US

Margaret Talev

PRESIDENT Barack Obama told Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping that China's growing economic power brings with it responsibility to work towards "balanced" trade and to recognise the aspirations of all people for greater rights.

Yesterday, Mr Obama met the man who is in line to become China's top leader next year, as both nations seek to ease tension over trade imbalances and the US prods China towards greater co-operation on global security issues, including thwarting Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon and confronting the regime in Syria.

"We welcome China's peaceful rise" and expect relations between the world's two biggest economies to continue on a "co-operative track," Mr Obama said in the Oval Office of the White House as he and Mr Xi sat down for their first meeting.

"With expanding power and prosperity also comes increased responsibility," he said, citing a "balanced trade flow" and "recognising the aspirations and rights of all people".

Mr Xi said through an interpreter that he wanted to "deepen mutual understanding" and cooperation with the US.

His arrival in Washington follows Mr Obama's moves to reassert US power and influence in the Asia-Pacific region and as China has emerged as one of the foreign policy issues in the US presidential election campaign.

Republican presidential hopefuls have ramped up criticism of China on currency manipulation, intellectual property protection and for the hurdles the state sets up for US businesses. They accuse Mr Obama of not standing up enough to China's rising economic and military power.

Unfair trade

Mr Obama yesterday asked congress in his next budget for $26m (€19.9m) and at least 50 people for a new panel to investigate unfair trade practices by China and other countries.

Mr Xi's agenda also includes meetings at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington and in Iowa and California later this week. His trip may be most important for developing relationships with Washington's military and political leaders that could shape US-China relations for the next decade, said Mr Obama's administration officials.

Vice President Joe Biden told Mr Xi during a separate meeting that the US was determined to enhance its relationship with China. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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