Saying that "we cannot predict with certainty what the future will bring, but we can be certain about the issues that will define our times," President Barack Obama just declared that "the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world. That reality must underpin our partnership. That is the responsibility we bear."
Obama is speaking at the Reagan Building in Washington, as he opens a meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue" between the U.S. and China.
He also just said that:
"We can promote financial stability through greater transparency and regulatory reform. We can pursue trade that is free and fair, and seek to conclude an ambitious and balanced Doha Round agreement. We can update international institutions so that growing economies like China play a greater role that matches their greater responsibility. And as Americans save more and Chinese are able to spend more, we can put growth on a more sustainable foundation — because just as China has benefited from substantial investment and profitable exports, China can also be an enormous market for American goods."
And, Obama has called on China to "continue our collaboration to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and make it clear to North Korea that the path to security and respect can be traveled if they meet their obligations. And that is why we must also be united in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and urging the Islamic Republic to live up to its international obligations."
Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. The president just called on China to respect ethnic and religious minorities' rights:
"The United States respects the progress that China has made by lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Just as we respect China's ancient culture and remarkable achievements, we also strongly believe that the religion and culture of all peoples must be respected and protected, and that all people should be free to speak their minds. That includes ethnic and religious minorities in China, as surely as it includes minorities within the United States."