LONDON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama met here Wednesday to discuss Sino-U.S. ties, the financial crisis and other major issues of common concern.
"I am happy to meet President Obama, and this is my first time to hold face-to-face talks with you," Hu said at the beginning of the meeting.
"Good relations with the U.S. is not only in the interests of the two peoples, but also beneficial to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, and the world at large," Hu said.
He said that since Obama took office, China-U.S. ties have got to a good start. "I have been keeping close relations with Obama and the foreign ministers of both countries have exchanged visits in a short time."
The two sides have reached consensus on the orientation of China-U.S. relations in the new era and on the establishment of "China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues" mechanism, Hu noted.
China is willing to work with the U.S. to make even greater progress in advancing the bilateral relations, Hu said, hoping to establish "good working relation and personal friendship" with Obama.
"The relations between the United States and China have become extremely constructive," Obama said. "Our economic relation is very strong."
"I said publicly our relations are not only important for citizens of the two countries, but also help set the stage for how the world build with a host of challenges."
"China is a great power and has a long and extraordinary history," Obama said.
"I look forward to a very productive and open conversation, not only about the whole state of the world economy during the current crisis, but also about how to work together to improve peace and security for both countries and the whole world," he said.
This is the first meeting between the two leaders since President Obama took office in January this year.
Chinese diplomats said earlier that the two leaders will discuss a wide range of topics including bilateral ties, joint actions to fight the global financial crisis and other international and regional issues of common concern.
Addressing a luncheon meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that the first meeting between President Hu and President Obama will be of great significance for bilateral relations at a new phase.
"Both sides attach great importance to this meeting and are making intensive preparations for it. I am confident that with joint efforts of the two sides, the meeting will be a great success and chart the course for the future growth of China-U.S. relations," the minister said.
Sino-U.S. relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in the world in the 21st century. Amid spreading international financial crisis and various mounting global challenges, it is all the more important than ever to further deepen and develop Sino-U.S. relations.
In a telephone conversation with President Obama on Jan. 30 this year, the Chinese president said that China is ready to strengthen dialogue, promote mutual trust and expand cooperation with the United States in a bid to confront various global challenges together and push forward a stable development of the Sino-U.S. relations.
Obama said in the telephone conversation that the U.S. side is expecting closer cooperation with China on major international and regional issues, and the U.S. government is willing to join hands with China to develop a more active and constructive bilateral relationship.
The Chinese and U.S. leaders met on the sidelines of a Group of20 (G20) summit on financial crisis slated for Thursday in London.
The London Summit brings together leaders of the G20, and representatives of international organizations and financial institutions to work cooperatively to restore stability and stimulate global economic growth.
At Thursday's summit, the leaders will focus on such subjects as enhancing the coordination of macroeconomic policies, pushing for necessary reforms in the world financial system, and stabilizing global financial market.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei told reporters on March 23 that President Hu will deliver a speech at the summit to elaborate China's opinions and proposition on these subjects.
China endeavors to push for positive and pragmatic results at the upcoming London summit, He added.
On the sidelines of the London summit, Chinese President Hu is expected to meet other leaders of G20 members.
The G20 consists of China, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the United States, and the European Union.