Obama to work for better Sino-US ties: Chinese media

BEIJING • Former United States president Barack Obama offered in his first post-retirement meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help ensure strong ties between the world's two largest economies, Chinese state media said.

The Chinese President told Mr Obama that the two sides shared a wide range of common interests and had a responsibility to maintain world peace and prosperity, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Although Mr Obama met Mr Xi on Wednesday - part of an itinerary that includes stops by the former president in India and France - details were reported by the Chinese state media only on Thursday.

Mr Obama told Mr Xi that he was willing to play a continued role in strengthening mutual understanding, exchange and cooperation between the two nations, Xinhua said.

He was last in China in September last year at the G-20 in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where he and Mr Xi formally ratified the Paris climate change agreement. The deal was hailed as a high point for US-China ties and an exemplar of two superpowers collaborating to counter global challenges.

US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris accord in June, saying the deal would have killed jobs and hindered the energy and manufacturing industries.

The State Department submitted formal notice of withdrawal to the United Nations in August, although leaving the door open for re-engagement if the terms improved for the US.

Mr Obama opened his trip on Tuesday in Shanghai, where he gave a speech at an event hosted by the non-profit Global Alliance of SMEs, which was attended by 2,500 executives, according to the organisation's website.

He stressed that China-US relations were the most consequential bilateral ties in the world, and dialogue was the only way to solve disagreements, according to the Shanghai-based news website the Paper.

As part of the three-nation tour, he will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr Obama's office said on Tuesday that the former president had "forged a close and cooperative partnership with President Xi on issues ranging from growing the global economy to combating climate change, and he looks forward to catching up with his former counterpart".

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2017, with the headline 'Obama to work for better Sino-US ties: Chinese media'. Print Edition | Subscribe