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Obama, Chinese President Hu Before Meeting in Seoul

26 March 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 26, 2012

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT HU JINTAO
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

Coex Center
Seoul, Republic of Korea
3:31 P.M. KST

PRESIDENT HU: (As interpreted.) A month ago, Vice President Xi Jinping made a successful visit to the United States. I asked him to hand to the President my reply to earlier letter, and I want to thank the American side for the warm hospitality and for all the arrangements made for his visit.

Now I'd like to talk to President Obama.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Mr. President, first of all, I’d like to say -- (inaudible) -- you and your delegation. And I think that the fact that we have met 11 times during the course of my presidency is an indication of the importance that both of us place on strong U.S.-China relations.

I am very pleased to hear that Vice President Xi had a wonderful visit. We very much enjoyed hosting him in the United States, and he did deliver your letter, which I appreciated very much.

I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to discuss a wide range of issues. First of all, the fact that we are at a nuclear security summit, following up on our discussions in Washington two years ago, shows the progress that the international community has made in preventing nuclear proliferation and making sure that we’ve secured nuclear materials. And I know that’s in the interest of both the United States and China.

I think this is also an opportunity to build on the excellent cooperation and dialogue across all the dimensions of our relationship that we’ve been able to establish over the last three years. So I’m looking forward to discussing economic and commercial issues, how we can continue to expand trade and make sure that there is strong mutual understanding about the potential benefits of commerce between our two nations, in accordance with the international rules and norms.

It also gives us an opportunity to talk about a wide range of international issues. Obviously of great importance to us and I know to you as well, the situation in North Korea and the situation in Iran -- we both have an interest in making sure that international norms surrounding non-proliferation and preventing destabilizing nuclear weapons is very important; issues like Sudan, where we both have an interest in ensuring peace and stability and development in a previously war-torn region of the world; the situation in the Middle East. In all of these issues, I think cooperation and coordination between the United States and China is very important not only to the interest of our two countries but to the interest of the world.

And so I’m looking forward as always to a constructive, frank, and productive meeting that can ultimately benefit both the peoples of China and the peoples of the United States.

END 3:36 P.M. KST