(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday a successful China was in the interests of the United States and the world but Beijing had to be a partner in underwriting international order, and not undermine it.
Speaking to growing concerns among U.S. and other companies about the Chinese business environment after arriving in Beijing, Obama also urged China to reject the use of cyber theft for commercial gain and create a more level playing field where policy is not used for the benefit of some firms over others.
Obama’s trip to China for an Asia-Pacific summit comes at a time of growing China-U.S. friction with Washington trying to expand American interests in Asia while Chinese President Xi Jinping demonstrates more willingness than his predecessors to demonstrate Beijing’s clout on regional issues.
The two countries have disagreed in recent months on a range of topics, including trade, maritime issues and cyber security, while the United States has lobbied against the setting up of a multilateral infrastructure investment bank sponsored by China.
“Our message is that we want to see China successful,” Obama told a news conference. “But, as they grow, we want them to be a partner in underwriting the international order, not undermining it.”
Obama and Xi will meet over dinner on Tuesday night and then for bilateral talks as part of an official state visit on Wednesday.
In a deal that he said would improve trade and business ties between the world’s two largest economies, Obama announced that China and the United States agreed to significantly extend the length of short-term visas. But he also urged Beijing’s leaders to create a fair market place for foreign firms.