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What Obama and Hu agreed upon in Beijing

November 18, 2009 16:31 IST

United States President Barack Obama's tour of China has evoked tremendous interest across the globe, and India in particular. As Obama soft-pedals on Tibet, and includes China in his vision to ensure peace in South Asia, there's growing worry over what this increasing affinity between the two world powers means for the region.

The US-China joint statement, issued on Wednesday following the summit between Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, throws light on the areas of agreement between the two nations. An excerpt:

The US-China Relationship

President Obama invited President Hu to make a visit to the United States next year, and President Hu accepted the invitation with pleasure.

The United States and China spoke highly of the important role of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and recognised that the dialogue offers a unique forum to promote understanding, expand common ground, reduce differences, and develop solutions to common problems. Both sides believed that the first round of the dialogue held in Washington, DC, in July this year was a fruitful one and agreed to honour in good faith the commitments made and hold the second round in Beijing in the summer of 2010.

The two sides agreed that they will continue to use the direct communication links among senior leaders to maintain timely communication on major and sensitive issues, institutionalise the annual exchange of visits by the two foreign ministers and encourage senior officials of other departments of the two countries to exchange visits on a regular basis.

The United States and China commended the outcomes of the visit to the United States by General Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, in October this year, and stated that they will take concrete steps to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations in the future. The two sides will prepare for the visit to the United States by General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of China's People's Liberation Army, and the visits to China by Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defense, and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two sides will actively implement various exchange and cooperation programs agreed between the two militaries, including by increasing the level and frequency of exchanges. The goal of these efforts is to improve their capabilities for practical cooperation and foster greater understanding of each other's intentions and of the international security environment.

The United States and China agreed to deepen counter-terrorism consultation and cooperation on an equal and mutually beneficial basis and to strengthen law-enforcement cooperation. They agreed to exchange evidence and intelligence on law enforcement issues in a timely and reciprocal manner. The two countries will undertake joint investigations and provide investigative assistance on cases of mutual interest. The United States and China will strengthen cooperation on criminal investigations and deepen collaboration in combating embezzlement as well as in counter-narcotics and pre-cursor chemical control and in combating unlawful migration. They also will boost joint efforts to combat transnational crime and criminal organisations as well as money laundering and the financing of terrorism including counterfeiting and recovery of illicit funds. They will work to combat smuggling and human trafficking.

The United States and China look forward to expanding discussions on space science cooperation and starting a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit. Both sides welcome reciprocal visits of the NASA Administrator and the appropriate Chinese counterpart in 2010.

The United States and China agreed to strengthen their cooperation on civil aviation, and confirmed their intent to expand the Memorandum of Agreement for Technical Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation between the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America and the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The two sides welcomed cooperation by public and private bodies on the development of high speed railway infrastructure.

The United States and China undertook to implement the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China on Cooperation in Agriculture and Related Fields.

The two countries agreed to collaborate further in joint research in the health sector including on stem cells. They will deepen cooperation on global public health issues, including Influenza A (H1N1) prevention, surveillance, reporting and control, and on avian influenza, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. They will also enhance cooperation on food and product safety and quality.

The United States and China underlined that each country and its people have the right to choose their own path, and all countries should respect each other's choice of development model. Both sides recognised that the United States and China have differences on the issue of human rights. Addressing these differences in the spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as promoting and protecting human rights consistent with international human rights instruments, the two sides agreed to hold the next round of the official human rights dialogue in Washington DC by the end of February 2010. The United States and China agreed that promoting cooperation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law serves the interests and needs of the citizens and governments of both countries. The United States and China decided to convene the US-China Legal Experts Dialogue at an early date.

The two countries noted the importance of people-to-people and cultural exchanges in fostering closer US-China bilateral relations and therefore agreed in principle to establish a new bilateral mechanism to facilitate these exchanges. Nearly 100,000 Chinese are now studying in the United States, and the US side will receive more Chinese students and facilitate visa issuance for them. The United States has approximately 20,000 students in China. The United States seeks to encourage more Americans to study in China by launching a new initiative to send 100,000 students to China over the coming four years.  

Building and Deepening Bilateral Strategic Trust

The United States and China are of the view that in the 21st century, global challenges are growing, countries are more interdependent, and the need for peace, development, and cooperation is increasing. The United States and China have an increasingly broad base of cooperation and share increasingly important common responsibilities on many major issues concerning global stability and prosperity. The two countries should further strengthen coordination and cooperation, work together to tackle challenges, and promote world peace, security and prosperity.

The United States and China underscored the importance of the Taiwan issue in US-China relations. China emphasised that the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expressed the hope that the United States will honour its relevant commitments and appreciate and support the Chinese side's position on this issue. The United States stated that it follows its one China policy and abides by the principles of the three US-China joint communiqués. The United States welcomes the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and looks forward to efforts by both sides to increase dialogues and interactions in economic, political, and other fields, and develop more positive and stable cross-Strait relations.

The United States and China believe that bilateral cooperation on common global challenges will contribute to a more prosperous and secure world. They reaffirmed their commitment made on June 27, 1998, not to target at each other the strategic nuclear weapons under their respective control. The two sides believed that the two countries have common interests in promoting the peaceful use of outer space and agree to take steps to enhance security in outer space. The two sides agreed to discuss issues of strategic importance through such channels as the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and military-to-military exchanges.

The United States and China agreed to handle through existing channels of consultations and dialogue military security and maritime issues in keeping with norms of international law and on the basis of respecting each other's jurisdiction and interests.

Economic Cooperation and Global Recovery

The two sides are determined to work together to achieve more sustainable and balanced global economic growth. To that end, the two sides noted that their forceful and timely policy responses helped stem the decline in global output and stabilised financial markets. The two sides agreed to sustain measures to ensure a strong and durable global economic recovery and financial system. The two sides reiterated that they will continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on macro-economic policies. The two sides pledge to honour all commitments made at the inaugural meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the G-20 summits, and APEC in Singapore.

The two sides will further enhance communication and the exchange of information regarding macro-economic policy, and work together to pursue policies of adjusting domestic demand and relative prices to lead to more sustainable and balanced trade and growth. China will continue to implement the policies to adjust economic structure, raise household incomes, expand domestic demand to increase contribution of consumption to GDP growth and reform its social security system.

Regional and Global Challenges

The two sides agreed that respect for the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, IAEA mandates, and implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions are essential for the success of our joint efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. The two presidents recalled their participation at the September 24, 2009, UN Security Council Summit on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. They welcomed the outcome of the Summit and expressed their strong support for UN Security Resolution 1887.

The two sides noted with concern the latest developments with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue.  The two sides agreed that Iran has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the NPT and it should fulfill its due international obligations under that treaty. They welcomed the talks in Geneva on October 1 between the P5+1 and Iran as a promising start towards addressing international concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, and expressed their readiness to continue that engagement as soon as possible.  

The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.

The two sides committed to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as soon as possible, and will work together for the early entry into force of the CTBT. They support the launching of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty at an early date in the Conference on Disarmament, and stand ready to strengthen communication and cooperation in nuclear safety and security and in combating nuclear terrorism. China attaches importance to the US initiative to hold a nuclear security summit in April 2010 and will actively participate in the preparations for the summit.

Climate Change, Energy and Environment

Regarding the upcoming Copenhagen Conference, both sides agree on the importance of actively furthering the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in accordance with the Bali Action Plan. The United States and China, consistent with their national circumstances, resolve to take significant mitigation actions and recognise the important role that their countries play in promoting a sustainable outcome that will strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change. The two sides resolve to stand behind these commitments.

In this context both sides believe that, while striving for final legal agreement, an agreed outcome at Copenhagen should, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries. The outcome should also substantially scale up financial assistance to developing countries, promote technology development, dissemination and transfer, pay particular attention to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change, promote steps to preserve and enhance forests, and provide for full transparency with respect to the implementation of mitigation measures and provision of financial, technology and capacity building support.

The two sides welcomed the signing of the Protocol Between the Department of Energy of the United States of America and the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Energy Administration of the People's Republic of China on a Clean Energy Research Center.  The Center will facilitate joint research and development on clean energy by teams of scientists and engineers from both countries, as well as serve as clearing house to help researchers in each country, with public and private funding of at least $150 million over five years split evenly between the two countries.  The Center will have one headquarters in each country. Priority topics to be addressed will include energy efficiency in buildings, clean coal (including carbon capture and sequestration), and clean vehicles.

The two sides welcomed the launch of a U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative designed to put millions of electric vehicles on the roads of both countries in the years ahead. Building on significant investments in electric vehicles in both the United States and China, the two governments announced a programme of joint demonstration projects in more than a dozen cities, along with work to develop common technical standards to facilitate rapid scale-up of the industry. The two sides agreed that their countries share a strong common interest in the rapid deployment of clean vehicles.