Amid tensions, Obama urges 'new model' of US-China relations

US president Barack Obama

RANCHO MIRAGE - US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Friday to look for a new way of cooperation as they started a weekend of talks on a slew of disputes.

Obama welcomed the Chinese president to the sprawling Sunnylands resort in sun-scorched southeastern California, the first encounter between the leaders since Xi took full power in the rising Asian power in March.

Speaking to reporters at the start of the talks, Obama said he wanted to achieve a "new model of cooperation" with China - a goal many feel eluded him in his first term when dealing with former Chinese president Hu Jintao.

A strong relationship between the world's two largest economies is "important... for the world," Obama said.

Obama voiced hope that the two countries would "work together" on issues including cyber-security, which has soared to the top of the agenda amid charges of a vast hacking campaign by China against the United States.

For his part, Xi said he hoped the meetings will "shape the future" of the US-China relationship," and renewed his call for a "new model" of relationships between major world powers.

Obama and Xi had not been scheduled to meet until a Group of 20 summit in Russia in September, but both sides decided to hold a less formal and more free-flowing meeting to try to develop a chemistry between the leaders.

US experts believe that Xi, the son of one of communist China's founding revolutionaries, has rapidly consolidated power and may prove to be a more dynamic leader than his notoriously stiff predecessor Hu Jintao.



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