SEOUL // The US president, Barack Obama, said today that the United States and China were "making progress" in discussions on economic issues, but made only a guarded reference to the divisive topic of Beijing's currency.
"As two of the world's leading economies we have a special obligation to deal with ensuring strong balance and sustained growth," President Obama said at the start of a meeting with China's president, Hu Jintao, on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Seoul.
The United States says Beijing holds its yuan currency artificially low against the US dollar and argues it should be allowed to rise to aid US exports and jobs.
Obama is pushing for specific commitments from other G20 leaders at this summit to tackle global imbalances - shorthand for the massive US trade deficit and equally large trade surpluses built up by countries such as China and Germany.
It was President Obama's seventh meeting with President Hu, the most with any foreign leader since the start of his presidency in January 2009 - a record the White House says shows how highly President Obama values their relationship.
"The US-China relationship, I think, has become stronger over the last several years, as we've been discussing a whole range of not only bilateral issues but world issues," he said.
President Hu struck the same tone of co-operation in his remarks.
"The Chinese side stands ready to work with the US side to increase dialogue, exchanges and co-operation so that we can move forward the China-U.S. relationship on a positive, cooperative and comprehensive track," President Hu said.
He said the G20 would yield a "positive outcome".