Remarks by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China Before Bilateral Meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence
The Hague, The Netherlands
12:48 P.M. CET
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (In progress)-- We have made incredible strides over these past several decades, and I know that President Xi and I are both committed to continuing to strengthen and build a new model of relations between our countries.
I want to, first of all, thank the President and the First Lady of China for being such gracious hosts when Michelle, Malia and Sasha first arrived in China. And they’re still there. They’ve seen the Great Wall; they’ve seen the Terracotta Warriors. And from my phone calls with them, they’re having an extraordinary time. So I want to thank the President for his outstanding hospitality towards my family.
And Michelle had an opportunity to meet with a number of young people in China, and these kinds of person-to-person ties are extremely important. And she also played some table tennis, although I think this was not the high-level Ping-Pong diplomacy that we saw in the past. (Laughter.)
Today, in addition to the important work that we're going to be doing at the Nuclear Security Summit, we'll have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues that are of mutual interest, including the denuclearization of North Korea, situations surrounding climate change, as well as world issues like the situation in Ukraine.
And because of the numerous meetings and fora that we've been able to establish, we're able not only to work on those issues of mutual interest and concern, but we're also able to work through frictions that exist in our relations around issues like human rights or dealing with maritime issues in the South China Sea and in the Pacific region in a way that's constructive and hopefully will lead to resolutions and improved solutions for all parties concerned.
We'll also have the opportunity to discuss economic issues, which are a cornerstone of our relationship, and the importance of our trading relationship and making sure that we are both abiding by the rules that allow us to create jobs and prosperity in both of our countries.
I think it's fair to say that this bilateral relationship has been as important as any bilateral relationship in the world, and we've made great strides. I believe ultimately that by working together, that China and the United States can help to strengthen international law, respect for the sovereignty of nations, and establish the kinds of rules internationally that allow all people to thrive.
And so I'm very much looking forward to this conversation and to the interaction with President Xi during the course of this Nuclear Security Summit.
PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, it's my great pleasure to meet you again. First of all, let me thank you for calling me recently to express sympathy over the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and for instructing relevant U.S. agencies to join the search for the missing plane, and for sharing information with the Chinese side. I want to thank you for that.
Before departing Beijing, my wife and I met your wife, Michelle, your mother-in-law, Mrs. Robinson, and your two lovely daughters, Malia and Sasha. We had a very good conversation. I know they’ve finished their tour of Beijing and Xi’an and they’re flying to Chengdu. I'm sure it is a trip of friendship and exchange, and this trip will be remembered for them as a pleasant and memorable one. When I was bidding farewell to Michelle in Beijing, she asked me to formally convey to you her best regards. (Laughter.)
Over the past year, you and I have stayed in close communication through meetings, phone calls, and exchange of letters. We have arrived at a series of important points of consensus, and made important and positive progress in our bilateral relationship.
We are now in the 35th year of formal diplomatic relations between China and the United States. We live in a complex world, and there is greater space where China and the United States are cooperating and where we need to and can work with each other.
I have received and carefully read your recent letter to me, Mr. President. In the letter you said that you remain committed to building the new model of major country relations with China. You also said that China-U.S. cooperation can help to advance our two countries’ common interests, and we can address common challenges through practical cooperation. I appreciate these statements.
I wish to emphasize that China is firmly committed to the set direction of building a new model of major country relations. We are committed to our position of no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation with regard to the United States. We’ll adopt a more positive attitude and more vigorous actions to strengthen cooperation with the United States, and also to effectively manage our differences and sensitivities and make sure the China-U.S. relationship will continue to move forward in a healthy and steady fashion.
We will soon go into our meeting; just now you mentioned some issues, which might come up in our meeting. It is like a menu, and a rich one at that. I hope through this meeting we can further deepen our communication and exchange.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.
1:00 P.M. CET