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Barack Obama says China, US ‘partners not rivals’

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged a “positive, cooperative and comprehensive” relationship with China, after talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing.

Obama said he told China that all minorities should enjoy human rights and urged China to resume talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.

Obama says that China’s partnership has helped the United States pull out of the worst recession in a generation.

Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao appeared together and spoke to reporters after a pair of meetings on Tuesday. Obama says a revised economic approach will help increase US exports and create jobs while helping bring about higher living standards in China.

Obama says his government is committed to a strategy of spending less and saving more.

The United States’ budget deficit is soaring to a yearly record of $1.42 trillion and China is the No. 1 lender to Washington. Beijing has expressed concern that the falling price of the dollar threatens the value of its US holdings.

China and the United States will work to resolve commercial disputes and jointly oppose trade protectionism, President Hu Jintao said.

Jintao said on Tuesday that he had agreed with US President Barack Obama to increase international cooperation, after “frank, constructive and fruitful” talks in Beijing.

There are signs of revival, but still no firm recovery in the international financial situation, Hu said, adding that the two sides had reiterated commitments to increase dialogue on macroeconomic issues and resolve economic and trade frictions.

The two countries achieved “broad consensus” Hu said, and agreed to fight protectionism and to try to ward off future financial and economic crises.

Jintao also said he and Obama agreed during talks to expand dialogue on human rights on the basis of respecting each other’s sovereignty.

International watchdogs have urged Obama to raise human rights, Tibet and Xinjiang during his China visit. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize this year but has been criticised by some who believe he is downplaying human rights issues.

In an address in Tokyo on Saturday, Obama stressed the importance of human rights as a core US value.

On Monday, his remarks to a group of students in Shanghai about Internet freedom were briefly carried on Chinese websites, before being purged.

Seeking help with an array of global troubles, President Barack Obama said earlier on Tuesday that his closely watched talks with his Chinese counterpart are vital not just for their nations but the world.

Marking 30 years of relations between the US and China, Obama said: “I think it’s fair to say that our two governments have moved forward in a way that can bring even greater cooperation in the future.”

Obama spoke after private talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

In China for the first time, Obama joined Hu in sending cooperative signals. Their talks centered on nuclear proliferation, hurting economies, climate change, human rights, North Korea and Iran.

The pair sought to strike a balance between trading partners and competitors during Obama’s weeklong trip to Asia.

“We believe strong dialogue is important not only for the US and China, but for the rest of the world,” Obama said, flanked by his national security team as the session began with great ceremony.

Hu reciprocated with kind words in public: “I look forward to having an in-depth relationship.”

The Presidents met at the Great Hall of the People, located on the edge of Tiananmen Square.

The buildup to the meetings in China brought a cautious balancing from the first-term US leader.

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