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US, China presidents agree to constructively manage growing differences

Published on Jul 15, 2014 10:11 AM
US President Barack Obama walks out to deliver a speech at the Paramount Theatre on July 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. In a phone call to his Chinese counterpart on July 14, 2014, Mr Obama said he wanted US-Chinese relations defined by more cooperation and a constructive management of differences. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US President Barack Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday that he wants US-Chinese relations defined by more cooperation and a constructive management of differences during a phone call in which Iran and North Korea were also discussed.

Escalating tensions between China and some countries in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea, as well as US charges over hacking and Internet spying, have provoked anger on both sides of the Pacific in recent months.

A White House statement about the Obama-Xi conversation did not get into the details of US-Chinese tensions. It came after two days of talks in Beijing that were an opportunity for the world’s two biggest economies to lower tensions after months of bickering over a host of issues.

Obama and Xi have tried to develop a working relationship over the past year, meeting for two days in June 2013 at a retreat in the California desert and, more recently, chatting in March at The Hague on the fringes of an international summit. However, their talks have done little to resolve festering issues in the Asia Pacific region.

The statement suggested the two leaders would seek to work together when they can despite their disagreements.

“The president reaffirmed his commitment to developing a relationship defined by increased practical cooperation and constructive management of differences,” the White House said.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said Xi told Obama that the two countries should continue to meet each other half way and keep strengthening cooperation on key issues like climate change.

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