Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama Meets Students in Shanghai; Says World Urgently Watching US-China Talks

SHANGHAI - President Barack Obama declared Monday the world is urgently watching for a "meeting of the minds" between the U.S. and China as he meets with President Hu Jintao on the globe's biggest issues — climate change, economic recession, nuclear proliferation and more, the Associated Press reported.

Obama also prodded China about Internet controls and free speech, but his message was not widely heard in the country because his words were drastically limited online and shown on just one regional television channel.

In his first visit here, Obama is strongly suggesting that China, now a giant in economic impact as well as territory, must take a bigger role on the world stage — part of "burden of leadership" it shares with the United States.

"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.

"I believe cooperation must go beyond our government. It must be rooted in our people — in the studies we share, in the business that we do, the knowledge that we gain, and even in the sports that we play," the U.S. president said.

Obama said the United States is not seeking to impose any system of government on any other nation, "but we also don't believe that the principles we stand for are unique to our nation."

"These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information, and political participation, we believe are universal rights," he said. "They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any other nation."

The town hall meeting showed how difficult it is for the governments to work together. The U.S. initially requested a larger venue and a live broadcast on a major network. In the end, Chinese officials put the event on the eastern fringes of the city. Only local Shanghai TV carried it live, though it was streamed on two popular Internet portals and on the White House's Web site, which is not censored.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment