Welcoming "peaceful rise" of China as a world power, United States President Barack Obama Friday greeted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Palm Springs in California for a two day summit, with both leaders calling for a new approach to ties between Washington and Beijing.
"The United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China as a world power and that, in fact, it is in the United States' interest that China continues on the path of success, because we believe that a peaceful and stable and prosperous China is not only good for Chinese but also good for the world and for the United States," Obama said alongside Xi ahead of their first bilateral meeting.
Noting that as two of the largest economies in the world the US and China will have a healthy economic competition, he said the two countries also have a whole range of challenges on which they have to cooperate, from a nuclear North Korea -- or North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes -- to proliferation, to issues like climate change.
"And the United States seeks an international economy and international economic order where nations are playing by the same rules, where trade is free and fair, and where the United States and China work together to address issues like cyber security and the protection of intellectual property," he said.
In recent months, the issue of cybersecurity has created friction between the two countries. "In addition to the strategic concerns that we share and the economic challenges that each of our countries face, I will continue to emphasize the importance of human rights," he said, adding that Xi has spoken of a nation and a people that are committed to continuous self-improvement and progress, and history shows that upholding universal rights are ultimately a key to success and prosperity and justice for all nations.
Speaking through an interpreter, the Chinese president said they are meeting to chart the future of China-US relations and draw a blueprint for this relationship and continue their cooperation across the Pacific Ocean.
"At present, the China-US relationship has reached a new historical starting point. Our two countries have vast convergence of shared interests, from promoting our respective economic growth at home to ensuring the stability of the global economy; from addressing international and regional hotspot issues to dealing with all kinds of global challenges. On all these issues, our two countries need to increase exchanges and cooperation," Xi said.
"And under the new environment, we need to take a close look at our bilateral relationship: What kind of China-US relationship do we both want? What kind of cooperation can our two nations carry out for mutual benefit? And how can our two nations join together to promote peace and development in the world? These are things that not just the people in our two countries are watching closely, but the whole world is also watching very closely," he said.
Xi said both sides should proceed from the fundamental interests of their people and bear in mind human development and progress. "We need to think creatively and act energetically so that working together we can build a new model of major country relationship," he said.
Earlier, keeping aside the formality, Obama and Xi appeared together on the grounds of the Sunnylands estate, walking outside in the 115-degree heat for a friendly handshake in front of the cameras.
Both wore dark suits, white dress shirts with open collars and no ties. They stood together smiling for a moment and then shook hands before walking together inside.
The US officials attending the talks included Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Mike Froman, Senior Director of Asia Danny Russel and Director of South East Asia Evan Medeiros.
Among Chinese officials with Xi were Wang Huning, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee; Li Zhanshu, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; Yang Jiechi, State Councilor; Wang Yi, Foreign Minister; Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States and Zheng Zeguang, Assistant Foreign Minister.
Image: US President Barack Obama meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California.
Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters