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Obama: US, China Opened Doors for Cooperation

Posted November. 17, 2009 08:41,   


U.S. President Barack Obama said yesterday that the United States and China have a proactive and fully cooperative relationship and opened their partnership to deal with significant global issues.

On the second day of his first official trip to China, he mentioned Sino-U.S. relations at a town hall meeting with around 520 students from eight universities at the Museum of Science and Technology in Shanghai’s Pudong district.

○ Cooperation instead of confrontation

In his 20-minute speech before a chat with the students, Obama said he saw entrepreneurship in Shanghai’s rapid economic growth, skyscrapers and thriving towns. He highly praised China’s rapid growth, saying, “I feel thrilled about my first visit to China.”

Obama said many global challenges could not have been solved without close cooperation between the two nations. He said Washington has opened its door wide for close cooperation on global economic recovery, development of clean energy, ban on nuclear proliferation, climate change and peace in Asia and the world.

He said both sides should learn lessons from the past, saying, “The two nations have faced lots of challenges and frustrations. They also had some conflicts of opinion. But that does not mean that they are rivals.”

○ Emphasis on freedom

In his speech, Obama talked about freedom a lot. “We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation. These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation, we believe are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including ethnic or religious minorities,” he said.

Obama also apparently chose to mention freedom for minorities and of religion instead of directly referring to Tibet.

He indirectly criticized the Chinese government for frequently censoring the Internet, saying he opposes the idea of censoring the Web.

When asked a question by a netizen who said he could not use the popular social networking site Twitter due to firewalls, Obama said, “I have never used Twitter. But I believe unrestricted Internet access is a very significant issue. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. I can tell you that in the U.S., unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength.”

Beijing frequently prevents its people from having access to Twitter.

bonhong@donga.com mungchii@donga.com