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Barack Obama

Remarks by Obama and Hu at Washington news conference

(Reuters) - Following are remarks by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao at a news conference in Washington after talks at the White House.

BARACK OBAMA ON CURRENCY

“I told President Hu that we welcome China’s increasing the flexibility of its currency. But I also had to say that the renminbi remains undervalued, that there needs to be further adjustment in the exchange rate and that this can be a powerful tool for China boosting domestic demand and lessening the inflationary pressures in their economy. So we’ll continue to look for the value of China’s currency to be increasingly driven by the market, which will help ensure that no nation has an undue economic advantage.”

“The Chinese government has intervened very forcefully in the currency markets. They’ve spent $200 billion just recently, and that’s an indication of the degree to which it’s still undervalued.”

“President Hu indicated he’s committed to moving toward a market-based system and there has been movement but it’s not as fast as we want.”

“What I’ve said to President Hu, and I firmly believe this, is not only will U.S. businesses be able to export more to China if we have a market-based currency, but it’ll also be good for China and President Hu’s agenda of expanding domestic demand.”

“This is something that can be a win-win. President Hu’s concerned understandably about how rapid this transition takes and the disruptions that may occur in its export sector.

“But I’m confident that it’s the right thing to do and my open expectation is that President Hu’s resolve will lead to a fully market-based currency program that will allow more effective trade between our two countries.”

OBAMA ON CHINA’S ECONOMIC RISE

“We also think that China’s rise offers enormous economic opportunity. We want to sell you all kinds of stuff. We want to sell you planes, we want to sell you cars, we want to sell you software and as President Hu and his government refocuses the economy on expanding domestic demand, that offers opportunity for U.S. businesses, which ultimately translates into U.S. jobs.

OBAMA ON ECONOMIC REFORM

“We discussed China’s progress in moving toward a more market-oriented economy and how we could ensure a strong and balanced global economic recovery. We agreed that in China this means boosting domestic demand. In the United States it means spending less and exporting more.

OBAMA ON ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP

“In other areas, we’ll compete, a healthy competition that spurs both countries to innovate and become even more competitive. That’s the kind of relationship I see for the United States and China in the 21st century and that’s the kind of relationship that we advanced today.”

OBAMA ON ‘A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD’ FOR U.S. COMPANIES

“I did also stress to President Hu that there has to be a level playing field for American companies competing in China. The trade has to be fair. So I welcomed his commitment that American companies will not be discriminated against when they compete for Chinese government procurement contracts and I appreciate his willingness to take new steps to combat the theft of intellectual property.”

OBAMA ON WHAT THE U.S. MUST DO ECONOMICALLY

“We’ve got to save more in this country. We’ve got to cut back on these huge levels of debt both in the private sector but also in the public sector. It also means that there are structural reforms that we have to undergo to make ourselves more competitive in the world economy, so making sure that we have the best education system in the world, that we’re producing more engineers than lawyers, making sure that we have a handle on our fiscal problems, making sure that we’ve got a world class infrastructure. Those are all important parts of us being competitive and being able to export.”

OBAMA ON RIGHTS

“China has a different political system than we do. We come from very different cultures and with very different histories. But as I’ve said before and I repeated to President Hu, we have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly -- that we think are very important and that transcend cultures.”

“I have been very candid with President Hu about these issues. Occasionally they are a source of tension between our two governments. But what I’ve believed is the same thing that seven previous presidents have believed, which is that we can engage and discuss these issues in a frank and candid way, focus on those areas where we agree while acknowledging that there are going to be areas where we disagree.”

HU JINTAO ON A HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTION

“Because of the technical translation and interpretation problem, I did not hear the question about the human rights. What I know was that he was asking a question directed at President Obama. As you raised this question, and I heard the question properly, certainly I’m in a position to answer that question.”

HU, ASKED AGAIN ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS

“China is always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. And in the course of human rights, China has also made enormous progress recognized widely in the world.”

“China recognizes and also respects the universality of human rights, and at the same time, we do believe that we also need to take into account the different national circumstances when it comes to the universal value of human rights.”

“China is a developing country with a huge population and also a developing country in a crucial stage of reform. In this context, China still faces many challenges in economic and social development and a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights.”

“We’ll continue our efforts to improve the lives of the Chinese people and we’ll continue our efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law in our country. At the same time, we are also willing to continue to have exchanges and a dialogue with other countries in terms of human rights. And we are also willing to learn from each other in terms of the good practices.”

“As President Obama rightly put it just now, though there are disagreements between China and the United States on the issue of human rights, China is willing to engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”

HU ON SECURITY IN ASIA

“We agreed to strengthen consultation and coordination on major issues that concern peace and development in the Asia Pacific region and in the world. China and the United States will enhance coordination and cooperation and work with the relevant parties to maintain peace and stability on the (Korean) peninsula, promote denuclearization of the peninsula and achieve lasting peace and security in Northeast Asia.”

HU ON GLOBAL CHALLENGES

“We will work with the United States and other countries to effectively address global challenges such as meeting the climate challenge, terrorism, transnational crime, energy and resource security, food security, public health security and serious national disasters.”

OBAMA ON CLIMATE CHANGE

“As the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate change by building on the progress in Copenhagen and Cancun, and showing the way to a clean energy future. The president indicated that he agrees with me on this issue.”

Reporting by David Morgan and White House correspondents, Editing by Frances Kerry

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