Xi Jinping praises Barack Obama for contributions to Sino-US ties
Chinese leader met former US president in Beijing during Obama’s first Asia trip since he left office
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday praised former US leader Barack Obama for his contributions to the Sino-US relationship, state media reported, despite Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and tensions over the South China Sea during his term.
During talks in Beijing, Xi made “positive remarks” on what Obama had done over his eight-year presidency to develop ties between the two countries, official news agency Xinhua reported.
The meeting was part of Obama’s first trip to Asia since leaving office and came weeks after Xi hosted US President Donald Trump during a high-profile visit to China.
Obama, who championed a “pivot to Asia” policy that Beijing viewed as a bid to contain its ambitions and critics say was largely a failure, said China had made impressive achievements.
A constructive US-China relationship was in the interests of both countries’ peoples, Obama said, adding that he would continue to play a positive role in promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between the US and China, according to Xinhua.
Xi told Obama that the two countries had common interests and an important responsibility in maintaining world peace and facilitating global development, the report said.
The Chinese president also briefed Obama on the Communist Party congress last month, which saw Xi further consolidate his grip on power with his name enshrined in the party charter.
Relations between Obama and Xi were outwardly positive, but were underscored by tensions over Washington’s concerns about human rights in China and the South China Sea disputes.
The two cooperated on various initiatives, most prominently the joint ratification of the Paris climate change pact in 2015, which Trump later withdrew from to make the US the sole non-participating nation.
Obama arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday, delivering a speech at an event attended by some 2,500 industry executives.
After meeting Xi, Obama will travel to New Delhi to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and speak at the HT Media Leadership Summit, which Modi will also attend.