Obama calls on US and China to Cooperation

U.S. President Barack Obama Monday urged the United States and China to conduct more cooperation in a variety of fields to promote mutual interests.

The two countries should further cooperate in economic recovery, clean energy, nonproliferation and transnational threats, he said at the opening session of the first round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), Xinhua reports.

“The United States and China share mutual interests,” Mr. Obama declared at the opening ceremony for the two days of talks, which will be led by both the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and their Chinese counterparts.

“If we advance those interests through cooperation,” he said, “our people will be better off — because our ability to partner with each other is a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges,” The New York Times reports.

Meanwhile the Chinese government has been reluctant to sign on to international agreements that, according to some analysts, could slow its rapid economic growth.

Obama also acknowledged the sharp differences between the two countries on the issue of human rights, admitting that he has no "illusions that the United States and China will agree on every issue."

The president bluntly stated that "all people should be free to speak their minds. That includes ethnic and religious minorities in China."

Speaking for the Chinese delegation, Vice Premier Wang promised continued "intensive dialogue ... to tackle the (global) financial crisis."

"Mankind's pursuit of ... progress never ceases," he said. "I'm confident this crisis will finally be over," CNN International reports.