Debuting on the world stage, President Obama is playing nice, pledging to listen and not lecture other leaders.
"I came here to put forward our ideas, but I also came here to listen, and not to lecture," Obama said in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "Having said that, we must not miss an opportunity to lead. To confront a crisis that knows no borders, we have a responsibility to coordinate our actions and to focus on common ground, not on our occasional differences. If we do, I believe we can make enormous progress."
Obama said while there are some disagreements, there is much more consensus on the approach to fixing the global economy.
"History shows us that when nations fail to cooperate, when they turn away from one another, when they turn inward, the price for our people only grows. That's how the Great Depression deepened. That's a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat," he added.
On the even of the G-20 economic summit in London, he is also meeting one-on-one with allies and potential enemies alike.
After their huddle, he and Russian President Dmitriy A. Medvedev announced that Obama will visit Moscow in July and that the two countries will try to reach agreement on cutting nuclear weapons stockpiles before an existing treaty expires at the end of the year.
And after their meeting, Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao to seek more cooperation on security and the economy, including a new dialogue.
Both joint statements, issued through the White House, are below:
Joint Statement by
Dmitriy A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America,
Regarding Negotiations on Further Reductions in Strategic Offensive Arms
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, and the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitriy A. Medvedev, noted that the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START Treaty), which expires in December 2009, has completely fulfilled its intended purpose and that the maximum levels for strategic offensive arms recorded in the Treaty were reached long ago. They have therefore decided to move further along the path of reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms in accordance with U.S. and Russian obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The Presidents decided to begin bilateral intergovernmental negotiations to work out a new, comprehensive, legally binding agreement on reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms to replace the START Treaty. The United States and the Russian Federation intend to conclude this agreement before the Treaty expires in December. In this connection, they instructed their delegations at the negotiations to proceed on basis of the following:
- The subject of the new agreement will be the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms;
- In the future agreement the Parties will seek to record levels of reductions in strategic offensive arms that will be lower than those in the 2002 Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, which is currently in effect;
- The new agreement will mutually enhance the security of the Parties and predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces, and will include effective verification measures drawn from the experience of the Parties in implementing the START Treaty.
They directed their negotiators to report on progress achieved in working out the new agreement by July 2009.
STATEMENT ON BILATERAL MEETING WITH PRESIDENT HU OF CHINA
On 1 April 2009, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Hu Jintao of China met on the sidelines of the G20 Financial Summit in London, the United Kingdom. The two heads of state had an extensive exchange of views on U.S.-China relations and global issues of common interest, and reached the following points of agreement:
I. Toward Enhanced U.S.-China Relations
The two sides agreed to work together to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship for the 21st century and to maintain and strengthen exchanges at all levels. President Hu Jintao invited President Obama to visit China in the second half of this year, and President Obama accepted the invitation with pleasure.
The two sides decided to establish the “U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo will chair the “Strategic Track” and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will chair the “Economic Track” of the Dialogue, each as special representatives of their respective presidents. The two sides will hold the first round of the dialogue in Washington DC this summer. The two sides stated that they will continue to advance mutually beneficial cooperation in economics and trade through the mechanism of the high-level Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
The two sides agreed to further deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas, including economy and trade, counterterrorism, law enforcement, science and technology, education, culture and health. They also agreed to resume and expand consultations on non-proliferation and other international security topics. They welcomed further exchanges between the national legislatures, local authorities, academics, young people and other sectors. The two sides agreed to resume the human rights dialogue as soon as possible.
Both sides share a commitment to military-to-military relations and will work for their continued improvement and development. The two sides agreed that Admiral Gary Roughead, U.S Chief of Naval Operations, will visit China upon invitation in April to attend events marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The U.S. looks forward to visits by senior Chinese military leaders this year.
The two sides agreed to maintain close communication and coordination and to work together for the settlement of conflicts and reduction of tensions that contribute to global and regional instability, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue, Sudan humanitarian issues, and the situation in South Asia.
The two sides agreed to intensify policy dialogue and practical cooperation in energy, the environment and climate change building on the China-US Ten Year Energy and Environment Cooperation Framework, carry out active cooperation in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy technologies and work with other parties concerned for positive results at the Copenhagen conference.
II. Strengthening Economic and Financial Cooperation
The two presidents discussed challenges facing the global economy and financial system. They pledged that, as two major economies, the U.S. and China will work together, as well as with other countries, to help the world economy return to strong growth and to strengthen the international financial system so a crisis of this magnitude never happens again.
The two presidents welcomed the fiscal stimulus measures taken by the other, and agreed that these measures were already playing a stabilizing role for the global economy. They also agreed that strong financial systems were essential for restoring growth, and they welcomed the commitment of both countries to address issues in this area. President Obama underlined the commitment of the United States to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Financial Stability Plan. He underscored that once recovery is firmly established, the United States will act to cut the U.S. fiscal deficit in half and bring the deficit down to a level that is sustainable. President Hu emphasized China’s commitment to strengthen and improve macroeconomic control and expand domestic demand, particularly consumer demand, to ensure sustainable growth, and ensure steady and relatively fast economic development.
The two presidents agreed the international financial institutions should have more resources to help emerging market and developing nations withstand the shortfall in capital, and the two countries will take actions toward this goal. China and the United States agreed to work together to resolutely support global trade and investment flows that benefit all. To that end, they are committed to resist protectionism and ensure sound and stable U.S.-China trade relations.
President Hu and President Obama discussed regulatory and supervisory changes needed to reform and strengthen the global financial system, including regulatory standards. President Hu welcomed the recent U.S. announcement of a comprehensive financial regulatory reform agenda. President Obama welcomed the commitment of China to continue the development and reform of its financial system.
The Presidents agreed on the need for sweeping changes in the governance structure of international financial institutions. President Obama underscored that such changes were needed so that these organizations better reflect the growing weight of dynamic emerging market economies in the global system
President Hu and President Obama concluded that continued close cooperation between the United States and China was critical at this time to maintain the health of the world economy and would remain so in the future. They both recognized that as major economies, the United States and China have a need to work together, as well as with other countries, to promote the smooth functioning of the international financial system and the steady growth of the world economy. To this end, the two sides will exchange views and intensify coordination and cooperation on global economic and financial issues, climate change and energy, and other important issues through the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that the two countries have decided to establish.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.