US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao have vowed to co-operate more closely on critical issues ranging from increasing trade between the world’s two largest economies to fighting terrorism.
But they also stood fast on their differences, especially over human rights.
Mr Obama acknowledged that differences on rights were “an occasional source of tension between our two governments”.
He said at a joint news conference with Mr Hu at the White House: “We have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly.”
Mr Obama said he drove that home forcefully in his discussions with the Chinese leader, but “that doesn’t prevent us from co-operating in these other critical areas”.
Mr Hu said “a lot” still needed to be done to improve human rights in China.
He said China is a developing country with an enormous population facing challenges in economic and social developments and said human rights must be viewed under those circumstances.
But Mr Hu said China will continue efforts to “improve the lives of our people and promote democracy and rule of law”.
Mr Hu said both countries should “respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests”.
Mr Obama said: “I absolutely believe China’s peaceful rise is good for the world, and it’s good for America.”