Obama hails ties with Chinese, British leaders at summit

President Barack Obama met separately with the leaders of China and England Saturday, and in both meetings Obama hailed what he said are relationships that are stronger than ever.

The president met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G-20 in Toronto on Saturday.

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In his meeting with Cameron, with both leaders enjoying a beer and trading jokes, Obama discussed the global economy, the war in Afghanistan and Iran.

The two men also appeared to be engaging in the ongoing economic debate, with Obama continuing to press foreign leaders to push ahead with stimulus efforts and Cameron, expressing the European view, stressing the need for deficit reduction.

Both men agreed on the need to reduce deficits.

Obama said he and Cameron continued on the conversation they had at the G-8 on Friday about "the world economy and the importance of our two countries focusing both on the issues of growth, but also on the issues of financial consolidation, that we have long-term deficits that have to be dealt with and we have to address them."

"There are going to be differentiated responses between the two countries because of our different positions, but we are aiming at the same direction, which is long-term sustainable growth that puts people to work," Obama said.

But the new prime minister made clear that his approach to economic troubles was more spending reductions.

"On the economy, you rightly say we have a big deficit problem which we have to address," Cameron said. "But of course we want to do it in a way that encourages growth, and that’s why we’re focusing on spending reductions rather than on big tax increases. And I think it’s the right approach to take."

On Afghanistan, Obama called the current time in Afghanistan "critical" on both the political and military fronts. Obama did not mention Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who recently resigned amid scandal after some inflammatory remarks he made about administration officials were published in Rolling Stone magazine.

Cameron called Afghanistan "the No. 1 foreign policy and security policy priority for my government, making progress this year, putting everything we have into getting it right this year, is vitally important."


In his meeting with the Chinese president, Obama scored Hu's commitment to continue to work with the U.S. in a unified effort to continue the global economic recovery.

Hu said there is a need for the G-20 countries to "continue to follow the spirit of staying the same course and uniting together."

Obama said he and Hu and their aides have worked hard the "past 15 months to build a relationship of trust, of mutual confidence, and it's my belief that we've accomplished many things."

The president did find a few minutes Saturday afternoon to see the end of the U.S. World Cup game that saw the Americans lose 2-1 to Ghana in extra time.

Obama was heard to remark to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, with about five minutes left in the game, that the game was "nerve-wracking."

The G-20 continues through Sunday with a working dinner for world leaders on Saturday night.