US President Barack Obama ended his state visit to China with a call for fresh talks between Beijing and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The US and China also agreed to disagree on Iran, the world economy and the nature of political freedom.
However, the general theme of the joint statement and the Obama visit was a US recognition of the rising influence and importance of China.
"The Sino-US relationship has never been more important in our collective future," Obama said after his summit with Hu. He urged a ‘strong and prosperous’ China to play a bigger global role. Hu began his statement by referring to complex global challenges and the need for interdependence of nations.
Obama has made his first visit to China under the shadow of a failing US economy dependent on Beijing as its largest foreign creditor.
He’s the only US president to avoid meeting the Dalai Lama before visiting China. And, unlike Clinton and George W. Bush, his predecessors, Obama was not allowed to address the Chinese people uncensored and live.
Obama’s townhall meeting with Chinese students was carefully managed by Beijing who ignored White House requests for independent bloggers to be invited and ensured all the participants were from the Communist Youth League.
On Tuesday, Hu maintained a stolid expression as Obama stood beside him and called for fresh talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama. China dismissed the exiled Tibetan leader as a ‘separatist’. Moments earlier, Hu had said China expects the US to respect and accommodate its core interests, concerns and territorial integrity, in a reference to Tibet and Taiwan.
"We recognise Tibet is a part of China," he said.