Recently confirmed U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with newly minted Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, the first high-level talks between the two nations since the U.S. election last year and China’s recent completion of its once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
The talks come against a background of rising tensions on issues of cybersecurity, North Korea, the U.S. “pivot” to Asia and China’s maritime territorial ambitions, but also as the two superpowers — the largest and second-largest economies on the planet — grow ever more reliant on each other economically.
In public remarks during a brief photo opportunity before their 45-minute meeting at the vast and ornate Great Hall of the People, both officials stuck to diplomatic pablum, stressing the importance of good U.S.-China relations.
“The president [Obama] is firmly committed to building a relationship of growing strength,” Mr. Lew said.
“I attach great importance to China-U.S. relations and am willing to work with the U.S. side to jointly advance [a] cooperative partnership,” added Mr. Xi, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
In their private meeting, Mr. Lew raised issues including exchange rates, the European fiscal crisis and the global economy, intellectual property, cybersecurity and North Korea, a Treasury Department department official told The Washington Times in an email.
Mr. Lew is scheduled to meet with new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.