Xi Jinping and Barack Obama pledge to strengthen ties in phone call

Conversation comes as naval chief Wu Shengli again welcomes his American counterpart

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 3:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 3:02am

US President Barack Obama has told President Xi Jinping he wants Sino-US relations defined by more cooperation and a constructive management of differences during a phone call in which both leaders also discussed Iran and North Korea.

Escalating tensions between China and some countries in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea, as well as US charges over hacking and Internet spying, have provoked anger on both sides of the Pacific in recent months.

A White House statement about the conversation did not get into the details of Sino-US friction. It came after two days of talks in Beijing that were an opportunity for the world's two biggest economies to lower tensions after months of bickering over a host of issues.

The statement suggested the two leaders would seek to work together when they could despite their disagreements.

"The president reaffirmed his commitment to developing a relationship defined by increased practical cooperation and constructive management of differences," the White House said. Xinhua said Xi told Obama the two countries should continue to meet each other halfway and keep strengthening cooperation on key issues like climate change.

Xi said that China was willing to work with the United States to ensure a comprehensive, lasting solution, despite the difficulties that still needed to be overcome, Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, the chief of the People's Liberation Army Navy met his American counterpart for talks aimed at improving cooperation between their fleets.

Admiral Wu Shengli , commander in chief of the navy, welcomed Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the US chief of naval operations, with a red carpet ceremony and an honour guard at his headquarters in Beijing.

The two admirals did not speak to reporters but a US navy official said that the visit was meant to "look at ways to increase the cooperation between our navies".

It was the two men's "fourth interaction" over the past year or so, he said, adding: "It obviously improves our understanding of each other also."

Reuters, Agence France-Presse