At a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Obama touted the progress that the two leaders made on a number of fronts, including increasing Chinese purchases of U.S. goods. Obama also noted that Hu had vowed that American companies would not be discriminated against as they competed for Chinese government contracts.
Obama said that the differences over currency had been frank and said the U.S. would continue to watch China's progress towards letting the yuan rise and fall with market forces. The U.S. has long believed that China artificially manipulates its currency.
Obama also touted cooperation with Beijing on areas from green energy to taming North Korean aggression to increasing student exchanges.
The two leaders spoke on the first full day of Hu’s state visit. The announcement by the Obama administration that China had committed to purchasing $45 billion in U.S. goods—including 200 Boeing aircraft valued at $19 billion—gave the White House a substantive accomplishment that it could tout. But any number of thorny issues continue to hinder what’s been called the most important bilateral relationship in the world. The U.S. continues to claim that China has manipulated its currency, the yuan, to keep it artificially low and to make Chinese goods cheaper. Washington is also concerned with Beijing’s failure to put more pressure on North Korea for its aggressive behavior towards and to improve China’s human rights record.