US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea. They also found common ground on climate change and cybersecurity.
Top US national security official Tom Donilon reported that Obama and Xi found "quite a bit of alignment" regarding North Korea's nuclear program, as the two-day summit in California's Sunnylands estate came to a close on Saturday.
Donilon praised steps taken by China to express disapproval of the north's outlawed nuclear bomb and missile tests as well as the recent escalation of nuclear rhetoric in the Korean peninsula. He said common ground between the US and China on the issue provided a key for enhanced cooperation.
In a separate news conference, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi said Xi had assured Obama they were "the same in their positions and objectives" on the matter
Climate agreement forged
Obama and Xi spent a total of eight hours together over Friday and Saturday in a summit that may set the stage for US-China relations for years to come.
The visit, the first of its kind between the two leaders, encompassed talks, a private dinner, and a one-on-one walk through the estate in the desert oasis near Palm Springs, California - an exercised designed to allow the men to forge a personal relationship.
Donilon said the two men used the unusually informal talks to launch a joint initiative on combating climate change by cutting back on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Used in refrigerators and air conditioners, HFCs are a major source of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
"The United States and China will work together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons," the White House said.
According to the White House statement, reducing HFCs worldwide could reduce some 90 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050, an amount equal to about two years' worth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
China is the largest producer of HFCs and until recently has been reluctant to bow down to international pressure to reduce emissions of the gases.
No breakthroughs on cybersecurity
On the issue of cybersecurity, Obama raised suspicions that China has carried out cyberattacks on US commercial property and military technology. Donilon said Obama told the Chinese president that issues of cybertheft would be an "inhibitor" to relations, and would be a "very difficult" problem to solve if not addressed.
Speaking a day earlier, Obama called for common "rules of the road" on cybersecurity.
"It's critical, as two of the largest economies and military powers of the world, that China and the United States arrive at a firm understanding," Obama said.
Although there were no clear breakthroughs on policy, Xi reportedly told Obama on Saturday that he wanted "good-faith cooperation" on the issue. He said he hoped to clear up "misgivings" by the United States about cybersecurity, alleging that China was also "a victim of cyber attacks."
Officials from both sides are due to hold further talks on the issue in July.
ccp/ch (AFP, Reuters, AP)