Skip to main content

Obama meets with Chinese premier Wen

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, third right, take lunch together in Beijing on Wednesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, third right, take lunch together in Beijing on Wednesday.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets Chinese premier on final day of his visit to China
  • Obama visited the Great Wall before flying to South Korea
  • U.S., China agree to team up to fight climate change, create clean energy
  • "China and the United States share extensive common interests," Hu says
  • China
  • Barack Obama
  • Hu Jintao
  • Wen Jiabao

Beijing, China (CNN) -- U.S. President Barack Obama huddled with the Chinese premier Wednesday on the final day of his visit to China.

Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao took place at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, continuing a theme of cooperation between the two nations and development of mutual interests. The men greeted each other in public before meeting privately.

The White House hailed this week's meetings between Obama and Chinese leaders.

"President Obama's visit to China has demonstrated the depth and breadth of the global and other challenges where US-China cooperation is critical," a White House statement said Wednesday. "His discussions with President Hu have strengthened possibilities for future cooperation.

"In order to continue to develop this important relationship, President Obama has invited President Hu to visit the United States in 2010. President Hu has accepted with pleasure."

During his final hours in China, Obama visited the Great Wall before flying to South Korea, where he will meet with President Lee Myung-bak.

Obama described the Great Wall as "spectacular," as a bone-chilling wind whipped around him. "It gives you a perspective on a lot of day to day things that don't amount to much."

Video: China, U.S. eye Africa
Video: Obama visits Forbidden City
Video: Obama, Hu meet in Beijing

Asked if the harsh weather reminded him of his home town, Chicago, he said, "It does feel the same doesn't it?"

His day began with a series of short interviews with American television networks.

Wednesday's session with Wen follows Obama's meeting a day earlier with Chinese President Hu Jintao, with the two speaking of a common vision of shared responsibilities and economic opportunities after their talks.

Trade, nuclear proliferation and the sticky issue of human rights were part of their discussions.

The two leaders "talked about continuing to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship between our nations," according to Obama, who said he welcomes China's desire for a greater role in world affairs.

"China and the United States share extensive common interests and broad prospects for cooperation on a series of major issues important to mankind's peace and stability and development," Hu said, naming the economy, climate change and cultural exchanges among those issues.

On economic and trade issues, Hu called for Beijing and Washington to build a positive relationship in the 21st century, to build a partnership.

"Our two countries need to oppose and reject protectionism and all its manifestations," Hu said.

Sentiment favoring protectionism has grown in the United States, as hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese products pour in each year. Some analysts say the Chinese goods are artificially cheap and come at the expense of American jobs.

The issue of human rights has often been a sticking point between Beijing and Washington. China regularly cracks down on its religious and ethnic minorities.

Though Hu said China was willing to discuss issues such as human rights and religion to broaden understanding between the nations, he acknowledged that each side had agreed to respect the other's cultural sovereignty.

In addition, China and the United States, the largest producers of greenhouse gases, have agreed to team up to fight climate change and create clean energy. Hu and Obama said their nations will cooperate to advance technologies and work toward a global agreement on reducing carbon emissions. The leaders did not offer a timeframe, however.