Remarks by President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Joint Press Conference
Great Hall of the People
12:17 P.M. CST
PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Honorable President Obama, distinguished guests, dear friends from the press, good morning. First of all, I wish to once again warmly welcome President Obama to China for this state visit.
Over the past two days, I had a constructive and productive discussion with President Obama. We had sincere and in-depth exchange of views, and reached broad agreement on China-U.S. relations, major international, and regional issues of shared interest, as well as on global issues.
We reaffirmed the agreement that we reached at the Annenberg estate on developing the bilateral relations. We agreed to continue to advance the development of a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States. We had in-depth discussions on the priority areas for advancing such relationship. We agreed to accelerate the negotiations of the BIT, and we’ll make efforts to reach agreement on the core issues and the major articles of the treaty text, and to initiate the negative list of negotiations in 2015.
We have reached agreement on the ITA expansion negotiations, and we are ready to work together for the early conclusion of relevant plural-lateral talks. We fully recognize the document signed between the two departments of defense on building two major confidence-building measures, and agreed to continue to deepen military exchanges, mutual trust and cooperation on that basis, and develop a new type of military-to-military relations between the two countries.
We issued a joint statement on climate change, and we jointly announced our respective post-2020 targets. We agreed to make sure that international climate change negotiations will reach an agreement as scheduled at the Paris conference in 2015, and we agreed to deepen practical cooperation on clean energy, environment protection, and other areas.
We reaffirmed our firm opposition to terrorism of all forms, and agreed to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation on intelligence sharing, terrorist financing, and cyber-terrorism. And we will work together to remove the threats of various terrorists and extremist forces.
We agreed to make use of such channels as a meeting between the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to have further discussions on law enforcement cooperation, which includes cracking down on transnational crimes, fugitives hunting, and recovery of criminal proceeds.
We have reached reciprocal arrangements on the visa for business travelers, tourists and students. We have agreed to issue 10-year, multiple-entry visas for respective business travelers and tourists, and 5-year, multiple-entry visas for each other's students. This will greatly promote people-to-people exchanges between our two countries and will help to promote our exchange and cooperation in the various fields, and promote the long-term development of bilateral relations.
We agreed to follow such principles as mutual respect, seeking common ground while sharing differences, exchanges and mutual learning, and manage our differences on sensitive issues in a constructive way so as to ensure the healthy and steady growth of the bilateral ties.
I told President Obama that China has proposed the Asian security concept at the CICA summit here in May in order to encourage Asian countries to view common security in an inclusive and cooperative spirit. At the same time, I also said that the Pacific Ocean is broad enough to accommodate the development of both China and the United States, and our two countries to work together to contribute to security in Asia.
These are mutually complementary efforts instead of mutually exclusive ones. China and the U.S. should continue to enhance dialogue and coordination on Asia Pacific affairs, and respect and accommodate each other’s interests and concerns in this region, and develop inclusive coordination.
I also introduced to President Obama China’s initiatives of establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. Underdeveloped infrastructure is the main bottleneck obstructing the economic development in Asia. China has initiated the AIIB in order to offer support and facility to regional infrastructure development. These proposals and initiatives are open and inclusive in Asia; they are not exclusive. We welcome the active participation of the United States and other relevant countries so that together we can promote and share prosperity and peace in Asia Pacific.
We recognize the positive actions both have taken in helping African countries affected by the Ebola virus to fight against the disease. We indicated that, based on the actual needs of African countries, we will leverage our respective strength and work with the rest of the international community to help affected countries to strengthen capacity-building on health and epidemic prevention so as to place the epidemic under control as soon as possible.
I thank President Obama and the U.S. team for their support to China’s hosting of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting. Both are willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation on multilateral forums, including APEC and G-20, and to play a positive role in promoting global economic recovery and development.
China and the United States have worked closely on the negotiations of the Iranian nuclear issue, and we hope that relevant parties would persist in consensus, address differences, and make political decisions so as to promote the early conclusion of a win-win and comprehensive agreement. China is firmly committed to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We intend -- we should address the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and negotiations. The relevant parties should have active contact and dialogue so as to create conditions for the early launch -- for re-launch of the Six Party Talks.
And the two sides also agreed to continue their exchange on the cooperation on the Afghan issue.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, China is ready to work with the United States to make efforts in a number of priority areas and putting into effect such principles as non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. And with unwavering spirit and unremitting efforts, we will promote new progress in building a new type model of major-country relations between the two countries so as to bring greater benefits to our two peoples and two countries.
MODERATOR: Thank you, President Xi. I now give the floor to President Obama.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you, President Xi, for welcoming me and my delegation to Beijing and for the extraordinary hospitality that you and the Chinese people have shown to me on this state visit. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people of China for the warmth and kindness they showed my wife Michelle and our daughters, as well as my mother-in-law when they came to visit China earlier this year -- another sign of the enduring friendship between our peoples.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two nations. I’m told that Deng Xiaoping said that we must “seek truth from facts.” On this anniversary, it is a fact that the past three and a half decades have seen an extraordinary growth in the ties between our two countries -- more trade, more collaborations between our businesses and scientists and researchers, more connections between the Chinese and the American people, from tourists to our students. And it is a fact that when we work together, it’s good for the United States, it's good for China, and it is good for the world.
As I’ve said many times, the United States welcomes the continuing rise of a China that is peaceful, prosperous and stable and that plays a responsible role in the world. And we don’t just welcome it, we support it. For decades, America’s engagement in the Asia Pacific, including our alliances and our stabilizing presence, have been a foundation for the region’s progress, including contributing to China’s remarkable economic growth. The United States has worked to expand trade and investment with China, and to help integrate China into the global economy. And we want that progress to continue because, as I said before, it benefits all of us.
I believe that President Xi and I have a common understanding about how the relationship between our nations can move forward. We agree that we can expand our cooperation where our interests overlap or align. When we have disagreements, we will be candid and clear about our intentions, and we will work to narrow those differences where possible. Even as we compete and disagree in some areas, I believe we can continue to advance the security and prosperity of our people and people around the world. That’s my vision for how we can develop the relationship between our countries. That’s the vision that we’ve advanced during this visit, which has taken our bilateral, regional and global cooperation to a new level. And I want to thank President Xi for his leadership in fostering that kind of atmosphere of cooperation.
First, President Xi and I agreed on the importance of continuing to exercise -- to increase the trade that helps grow our economies and creates jobs. More U.S. exports to a growing China means more opportunities for American businesses, workers and farmers. We agreed to work actively on a comprehensive bilateral investment treaty with high standards. And that provides the opportunity for Chinese businesses to invest in the United States, as well as opening up the opportunity for more U.S. businesses to invest here in China, creating jobs for both our countries.
We reached an understanding that will allow us to work with other nations to conclude the Information Technology Agreement, which will help us boost trade in the computer and IT products that power the 21st century economy. We agreed to work together to promote innovation in agricultural and food security to help feed a growing planet. And our agreement to extend visas for business people, tourists and students will help fuel growth and create jobs for Americans and Chinese.
I told President Xi that we welcome reforms being discussed here that would give the market a defining role in the Chinese economy. At the same time, I did emphasize the need for a level playing field, so foreign companies can compete fairly, including against Chinese state-owned enterprises. I stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property as well as trade secrets, especially against cyber-threats. And we welcome continued progress towards a market-driven exchange rate.
Second, as the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change. That's why today I am proud that we can announce a historic agreement. I commend President Xi, his team, and the Chinese government for the commitment they are making to slow, peak, and then reverse the course of China’s carbon emissions.
Today, I can also announce that the United States has set a new goal of reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025. This is an ambitious goal, but it is an achievable goal. It will double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution in the United States. It puts us on a path to achieving the deep emissions reductions by advanced economies that the scientific community says is necessary to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. It will help improve public health. It will grow our economy. It will create jobs. It will strengthen our energy security, and it will put both of our nations on the path to a low-carbon economy.
This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship, and it shows what’s possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge. In addition, by making this announcement today, together, we hope to encourage all major economies to be ambitious -- all countries, developing and developed -- to work across some of the old divides so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement next year.
Third, with respect to regional security, we agreed to a number of new measures to improve communications between our militaries in order to reduce the risk of accidents or miscalculations on the seas and in the air. President Xi and I reaffirmed our commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we agree that North Korea will not succeed in pursuing nuclear weapons and economic development, that it can’t have both.
While the United States does not take a position on competing claims in the East and South China Seas, I made it clear that we do have a fundamental interest in freedom of navigation, and that territorial disputes in the region should be resolved peacefully, in accordance with international law. And I congratulated President Xi on the initial contacts with Prime Minister Abe of Japan to help lower tensions with respect to that issue.
I reaffirmed my strong commitment to our One-China policy based on the Three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act. And we encourage further progress by both sides of the Taiwan Strait towards building ties, reducing tensions and promoting stability on the basis of dignity and respect, which is in the interest of both sides, as well as the region and the United States.
Fourth, I welcomed China’s contributions to international security. This includes our mutual support for a stable, unified Afghanistan; our mutual interest in seeing the terrorist group ISIL is destroyed; the potential work we can do together in other counterterrorism activities, including those that were raised by President Xi; our mutual efforts as part of the P5-plus-1 to reach a comprehensive solution that ensures Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
We agree that Iran should seize this historic opportunity by making the tough choices that are necessary to achieve a lasting diplomatic solution. And in addition, the United States is very appreciative of China’s important contributions in West Africa in the fight against Ebola. We agreed to expand our cooperation against infectious diseases more broadly and to promote access to electricity across Africa -- more examples of the difference we can make when we work together.
And finally, I reiterated to President Xi, as I have before, that America’s unwavering support for fundamental human rights of all people will continue to be an important element of our relationship with China, just as it is with all the countries that we interact with around the world. And we had a very healthy exchange around these issues. President Xi gave me his sense of how China is moving forward. I described to him by it is so important for us to speak out for the freedoms that we believe are universal, rights that we believe are the birthright of all men and women, wherever they live, whether it is in New York or Paris or Hong Kong.
We think history shows that nations that uphold these rights -- including for ethnic and religious minorities -- are ultimately more prosperous, more successful, and more able to achieve the dreams of their people. In that context, I did note that we recognize Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. We are not in favor of independence. But we did encourage Chinese authorities to take steps to preserve the unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.
In closing, I want to say that I am pleased that we continue to expand the ties between our peoples. The new visa extension that begins today will bring more Chinese tourists to the United States and more American tourists to see the magnificent sights of China. That will encourage more exchanges among our students. We welcome more Chinese students to the United States than from any other country. And I’m proud that this summer my “100,000 Strong” program reached our goal of more than 100,000 Americans studying in China in recent years. With these visa extensions, we’ll give more students this opportunity -- both Chinese and Americans.
So every day, our people are coming to know each other better. Every day, our young people are forging friendships that will serve our countries for many decades to come. Every day some of the barriers of mistrust are broken down, mutual understanding is promoted. And that lays the seeds for cooperation, not just today, but for future generations.
So, President Xi, thank you again for your hospitality, for the candid and very productive conversations, for your hosting of an excellent APEC Summit, and for our work together.
As Deng Xiaoping said, we must seek facts from -- “seek truth from facts.” The truth is that we have made important progress today for the benefit of both of our nations and for the benefit of the world. The truth is that even more progress is possible as we continue to develop this important relationship. I am confident that we will be able to do so. So thank you. Xie xie.
We’ve each agreed I believe to take a question from the press.
MODERATOR: Thank you both presidents. Now the two presidents have agreed to each take a question from the press. Now, first President Obama will take a question from a member of the American press.
MR. EARNEST: The first question will be from Mark Landler of The New York Times.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Where's Mark? There he is.
Q Thank you very much, President Xi and President Obama. My first question is to President Obama. You’ve spoken a lot over the past few days about the potential of China as a partner for the United States and have concluded several agreements this week that attest to that. At the same time, there has been a surge of anti-American rhetoric in China in recent weeks, particularly in the state media. Chinese newspapers have disparaged your leadership style and have fueled speculation that the United States is a black hand behind the protests in Hong Kong. My question is whether you’re concerned that this anti-American rhetoric could impede the kind of collaboration that you wish to have with China. And to what do you attribute that?
And if I may, because I want to make sure I grab my chance with the President of China, ask a couple of questions of him. Mr. President, President Obama has sketched out a strategic pivot to Asia that includes shoring up alliances with American allies like Japan and South Korea, deploying Marines to Australia, negotiating a regional trade pact that at the moment excludes China, and speaking up -- as he did just a moment ago -- on territorial disputes between China and its neighbors. Several months ago in Shanghai at a conference, you said it is for the Asians to run the affairs of Asia. I wonder whether you’re concerned that this strategic pivot represents an effort to contain China.
And then if I may, lastly, on a parochial issue --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Come on, Mark.
Q On a parochial issue -- several news organizations from the United States have had issues with residency permits in China being denied, including The New York Times. I’m wondering in the spirit of these reciprocal visa arrangements that you’ve agreed to this week with business people and students, isn’t it time to extend that sort of right to foreign correspondents who seek to cover your country?
Thank you both very much.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not sure I remember the question. (Laughter.) I’m teasing.
First of all, with respect to press attitudes towards America or me in particular, I am always working on the assumption that the press giving me a hard time is true wherever I go, whether in the United States or China. That’s part of being a public official. And I think that it is fair to say that there are differences between the United States and China on a range of issues. On the other end, I’m a big believer in actions and not words. And this summit I think is evidence of the values that China places in the relationship between the United States and China.
On a whole host of issues at this summit, we’ve shown that U.S.-China cooperation can end up not only being good for the two countries, but for the world as a whole. And I do think that one of the benefits of a summit like this is an opportunity for one-on-one conversations between the leaders of the two countries to break down some of the misperceptions and mistrust that can build up over time.
So, for example, on the issue of Hong Kong, which did come up in our conversations, I was unequivocal in saying to President Xi that the United States had no involvement in fostering the protests that took place there; that these are issues ultimately for the people of Hong Kong and the people of China to decide. But I did describe for him that the United States, as a matter of foreign policy but also a matter of our values, are going to consistently speak out on the right of people to express themselves, and encourage the elections that take place in Hong Kong are transparent and fair and reflective of the opinions of people there.
And more broadly, our conversations gave me an opportunity to debunk the notion that you suggested, Mark, just now that our pivot to Asia is about containing China. I have repeatedly reiterated and displayed through the actions of our administration that we want China to succeed. And we actively encourage our friends and allies in the region to foster a strong and cooperative relationship with China.
So, as I mentioned briefly, we applaud the lowering of tensions between China and Japan. We think that’s good for the region and good for both countries. And so what you left out of the list of actions that we’ve taken in this pivot to Asia is the multiple meetings I’ve had with President Xi and his predecessor, and the remarkable scope of agreements that we have reached to deepen economic, scientific, educational and security arrangements between the United States and China.
In other words, a strong, cooperative relationship with China is at the heart of our pivot to Asia. And if the United States is going to continue to lead the world in addressing global challenges, then we have to have the second-largest economy and the most populous nation on Earth as our partner. And the carbon reduction agreement that we just announced is a perfect example of why a strong U.S.-China relationship is so critical.
And just in closing, I want to say that although there are going to continue to be tensions and disagreements between our countries, as is true with all countries, particularly large countries that have a lot of interests around the globe, I’ve consistently found President Xi to be willing to engage on those differences in a frank and candid matter, and we have consistently strived to find ways to narrow those differences.
I think the military-to-military cooperation announcements that we’re making today are a perfect example of how rather than try to tamp down those differences, surfacing them and then addressing them is going to be a centerpiece, a lynchpin for the kinds of cooperative agreements that I hope will continue for generations to come.
MODERATOR: Now, President Xi Jinping will take a question from a member of the Chinese press. China Daily, please.
Q (As interpreted.) China Daily. The world is watching very closely today's summit meeting between you, President Xi, and President Obama. And the China-U.S. relationship has gone beyond the bilateral scope. It is increasingly consequential for the whole world and for this region. As China further develops, how does China see its own position and role in international affairs?
PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Thank you for your question. There are very wide areas where China and the United States need to and can cooperate with each other. And as the international situation continues to experience complex, fluid and profound changes, there will be even more areas where our two countries need to work together.
In recent years, China and the United States worked together to counter the impact of the global financial crisis. We have also worked together to try and resolve some regional hotspot issues, such as the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, the situation in Syria and so on, through dialogue. We've also partnered with each other to address some serious challenges, including climate change, terrorism, and the Ebola epidemic.
The strategic significance of China-U.S. relations is on the rise. China is a participant in, builder of, and contributor to the international system. China's economic development is in itself an important contribution to the global efforts to address the international financial crisis and to promote the recovery and the growth of the world economy.
China has sent more personnel to U.N. peacekeeping missions than any other permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. To date, we have sent over 20,000 of our military personnel to various U.N. peacekeeping operations. And the Chinese navy has combatted 45 escort missions in the piracy-ridden waters of the Gulf of Aden. And China is firm in opposing all forms of terrorism, and we have all along been supportive of international cooperation to fight terrorism.
The Chinese people empathize with the Western African countries that are experiencing the Ebola epidemic. We have so far provided four tranches of assistance that is worth 750 million RMB. And even as we speak, there are over 300 Chinese medical personnel working on the ground in Africa to help the affected areas.
As China continues to develop, we will shoulder more and more international responsibilities that are commensurate with our own strengths and position. We will remain firmly committed to working with other countries to share China's development opportunity and to address various challenges. And we will make our due share of contribution to maintaining and promoting peace, stability and development in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.
Both President Obama and I believe that when China and the United States work together, we can become an anchor of world stability and a propeller of world peace. China stands ready to work with the United States to firm up our confidence, exercise our wisdom, and take action to strengthen our coordination and cooperation bilaterally, regionally and globally; and to effectively manage our differences on sensitive issues so that we can make new gains in building the new model of major-country relations between China and the United States, which serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples and the people elsewhere in the world.
China and the United States have different historical and cultural traditions, social systems, and faces of development. So it's natural that we don't see eye to eye on every issue. But there have always been more common interests between China and the United States than the differences between us. Both sides should respect each other's core interests and major concerns and manage our differences in a constructive fashion, full dialogue, and consultation so as to uphold the overall interests of stable growth of China-U.S. relations.
And I had a candid discussion with President Obama on human rights issues. Ever since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and especially over the last three decades and more of China's reform and opening era, China has made enormous progress in its human rights. That is a fact recognized by all the people in the world.
On the question of human rights, we should never consider our work to be mission accomplished. It's always work in progress, and there is always room for further improvement. China stands ready to have dialogue with the United States on human rights issues on the basis of equality and mutual respect so that we can constructively handle our differences, deepen our mutual understanding, and learn from each other.
In my talks with President Obama I also pointed out that the Occupy Central is an illegal movement in Hong Kong. We are firmly supportive of the efforts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to handle the situation according to law so as to maintain social stability in Hong Kong and protect the life and the property of the Hong Kong residents. Hong Kong affairs are exclusively China's internal affairs, and foreign countries should not interfere in those affairs in any form or fashion. And we will protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign citizens and business organizations in Hong Kong, as well. And I think it goes without saying that law and order must be maintained according to law in any place, not just in Hong Kong, but also elsewhere in the world.
China and the United States are important countries in the world. It's perfectly normal for there to be different views expressed about us in the international media. And I don't think it's worth fussing over these different views. And I don't see any of the regional free-trade arrangements as targeting against China. China is committed to open regionalism. And we believe the various regional cooperation initiatives and mechanisms should have positive interaction with each other, and that is the case at the moment.
And China protects our citizens' freedom of expression and the normal rights and the interests of media organizations in accordance with law. On the other hand, media outlets need to obey China's laws and regulations. When a car breaks down on the road, perhaps we need to get off the car to see where the problem lies. And when a certain issue is raised as a problem, there must be a reason. In Chinese, we have a saying: The party which has created a problem should be the one to help resolve it. So perhaps we should look into the problem to see where the cause lies.
MODERATOR: This is the end of the press conference. Thank you, President Xi and President Obama. Thank you all.
1:07 P.M. CST