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Obama wraps up China trip with PM talks, Great Wall

world Updated: Nov 18, 2009 10:01 IST

US President Barack Obama wraps up his trip to China on Wednesday with a mix of diplomacy and sightseeing, meeting Premier Wen Jiabao for a working lunch and visiting the Great Wall.

Obama held the bulk of his formal talks on Tuesday with President Hu Jintao, after which the leaders of the world’s number one and three economies said they had agreed to pool their global clout to attack a number of tough issues.

The pair vowed to push for a climate change deal, called on North Korea to return to multilateral talks on ending its nuclear weapons programme and emphasised the need to resurrect the global economy from the depths of crisis.

Few concrete agreements emerged from the talks, and differences were obvious in the two leaders’ statements on Iran, pressing economic issues such as the value of the yuan, and Tibet -- an extremely sensitive subject for China.

But Obama on Tuesday said Sino-US ties have “never been more important to our collective future”, adding that the world was facing immense challenges that “neither of our nations can solve by acting alone”.

Both presidents spoke about building a “positive, cooperative, and comprehensive” relationship -- using the exact same phrase.

Aides to the US president -- whose stop in China was the third and longest leg of his four-nation tour of Asia -- have stressed that he is working on a relationship that will be invaluable for the future.

US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman said Obama was “extremely effective” in his private meetings with Hu, parliamentary speaker Wu Bangguo and other officials.

The English-language Chinese state media hailed the Obama-Hu talks, with the China Daily blasting the headline “Moving forward together” under a photo of the two leaders, smiling.

“Negotiation in itself means peace,” the newspaper said in a commentary. “Working in partnership can create opportunities to let others join in and enlarge it.”

Obama’s talks with Wen were likely to focus on economic issues and perhaps North Korea, where leader Kim Jong-Il told the Chinese premier last month during a rare visit that Pyongyang was willing to return to disarmament talks.

One of the US president’s last views of China was to come from atop the Great Wall -- a treasured Chinese landmark, like the Forbidden City in Beijing, which Obama visited on Tuesday.

The first parts of the Great Wall were built more than 2,000 years ago, then rebuilt and extended during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD) due to the threat of invading northern tribes.

In recent times, the wall has suffered extensively at the hands of modern development, with sections of it destroyed to make way for roads and other forms of construction.

Obama will then head to South Korea, for talks with President Lee Myung-Bak expected to focus on North Korea.