Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in Paris, France, Nov. 30, 2015. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
PARIS, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is attending the opening session of a major United Nations climate change conference here, met with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on Monday.
The two heads of state discussed ways to push forward bilateral ties while pledging concerted effort to make the Paris negotiations a success.
CONCERTED EFFORT ON CLIMATE
During the meeting, Xi told Obama that it is important for the two countries to partner with each other to help the Paris climate conference deliver its expected targets, saying climate change is a huge challenge faced by mankind.
Obama, in his turn, emphasized the importance of China-U.S. efforts to fight climate change.
"Nowhere has our coordination been more necessary or more fruitful than the topic that we're here to discuss during the Paris conference, and that is how the world can come together to arrest the pace of climate change," he said.
As the two largest carbon emitters, Obama said, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action, noting that "our leadership on this issue has been vital."
The two presidents are meeting on the sidelines of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The highly-anticipated meeting aims to yield a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases beyond 2020 when the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires.
The two leaders agreed the Paris conference provided a vital opportunity to enhance action and tackle the challenge of climate change, vowing to work with each other and other sides to ensure that the conference will achieve an ambitious and successful result.
China and the United States, the largest developing and developed countries in the world, together account for about 40 percent of the global greenhouse gas emission. Cooperation between the two countries to combat climate change has become a highlight in their bilateral relationship in recent years.
When Xi and Obama met last November in Beijing during Obama's state visit to China, they made a surprise joint announcement on climate change, sending a strong signal that the two biggest economies in the world were to join hands to tackle the global challenge.
Two months ago, when Xi paid a state visit to the United States, the two heads of state issued a joint presidential statement on climate change, reaffirming determination to implement domestic climate policies, strengthen bilateral coordination and cooperation, and to promote sustainable development and the transition to green, low-carbon as well as climate resilient economies.
China also pledged a 20-billion-yuan (3-billion-U.S. dollar) fund to help other developing countries combat climate change, according to the statement.
In both documents, the two presidents have made their personal commitment to a successful outcome of the Paris climate change conference.
RIGHT DIRECTION OF TIES
The two heads of state's meeting in Paris, which came after Xi's state visit to the United States in September, provided an opportunity for the two presidents to discuss bilateral relations and how they can cooperate on vital issues impacting the world.
Xi told Obama that at present, the world economy is recovering slowly and terrorism is on the rise, and against this background, it is very important for China and the United States to be firmly committed to the right direction of building a new model of major-country relations, and follow the principles of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, in order to carry forward practical exchanges and cooperation at the bilateral, regional and global levels.
Such endeavors would include enhancing macro-economic policy coordination, Xi said, adding that countries should pay special attention to stable growth, oppose protectionism, and maintain an open, transparent and inclusive multi-lateral trade system.
He called upon the two sides to conclude a bilateral investment treaty soon, providing a fair environment for investors of both sides.
The two countries should also work together to combat all forms of terrorism, Xi said, noting that they should maintain strategic communication and coordination and make more efforts to solve vital issues concerning the region and the world.
Obama said his country is willing to work with the Chinese side.
"We've also been able to set up a number of key forums for us to find additional areas of cooperation through our Strategic & Economic Dialogues and our military-to-military exchanges," he said. "We've been able to enhance security, help to strengthen the global economy, and manage conflicts in various hotspots around the world."
The U.S. president also expressed his condolences over the killing of a Chinese hostage by the extremist group Islamic State, saying the incident "indicates this is a threat for all of us."
"China is invested in helping to resolve global problems. And all of us, including the United States, benefit," said Obama.
Still, some thorny issues split the two sides, but Xi and Obama expressed their willingness to manage the differences between their countries.
It's important, said Xi, that we manage our differences and the sensitive issues in a constructive way, adding the two countries need to work together to ensure a sustained, healthy and steady growth of their bilateral relations, maintain and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.
Xi said China and the United States should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and properly manage differences through dialogue and negotiations.
On the Taiwan issue, Xi said maintaining peace and stability across the straits serves the interests of both China and the United States, and the Chinese side expects the U.S. side to support the peaceful development of cross-straits relations through concrete action.
The two presidents also discussed the cyber issue. Xi said the two sides need to show sincerity and work together to achieve positive results in related talks. He said the Chinese side is willing to work with the international community, including the United States, to formulate relevant international rules and build a peaceful, secure and transparent cyber space.
Obama made a similar point, acknowledging the differences between the two countries while emphasizing the constructive tone of the discussions between the two.
"On issues like cyber security and maritime issues, I think President Xi and I have developed a candid way of discussing these issues," said Obama, adding that teams from both countries have found ways to work through these tensions in a constructive fashion.
"There is far more that the United Sates and China have in common than separates us," said Obama, adding that he will attend next year's G20 meeting in China, which "will give us some additional opportunity to work to strengthen the global economy and to deal with issues like sustainable development."