Obama, Xi huddle during Paris climate talks

Obama, Xi huddle during Paris climate talks
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President Obama on Monday highlighted the work he and China's President Xi Jinping have undertaken on climate change and other issues. 

Obama and Xi met during the opening day of a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. The leaders have both made big commitments as terms of any climate change deal the conference might yield.  

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“As the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” Obama told reporters before his meeting with Xi. 

“And so our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital, and I appreciate President Xi’s consistent cooperation on this issue.”

Obama has long worked to win Chinese cooperation as part of an international climate deal, something he secured during a meeting with Xi last year. 

At the time, China became the first Asian power to propose new limits on its greenhouse gases, agreeing to peak its emissions by 2030 under an international climate deal. 

The United States has promised a 26- to 28-percent reduction its greenhouse gases by 2025, compared with 2005 levels.

The two countries are the world’s largest carbon emitters, making them key players in an international push to fight climate change. 

“The United States and China also come here with a common vision for what’s needed in a Paris agreement, including moving toward a low-carbon global economy in this century, enhancing transparency to build trust and robust financial support to help developing countries adapt,” Obama said Monday. “And here in Paris, we will be working together to try to deliver on that vision.”

Even as the two powers work together on climate matters, tensions are still high on issues like cybersecurity and maritime law in the Asia Pacific region. 

The White House said the two leaders discussed those concerns during their meeting, and they pledged to work together on a litany of matters during Obama’s final full year in office in 2016.

“On issues like cybersecurity and maritime issues, I think President Xi and I have developed a candid way of discussing these issues and our teams have found ways to work through these tensions in a constructive fashion,” Obama said after their meeting.

Xi, too, committed to “building a new model of major country relations” between the U.S. and China. 

“It’s important that we manage our differences and the sensitive issues in a constructive way,” he said through a translator.  

“All in all, we need to work together to ensure a sustained, healthy and steady growth of our bilateral relations, and maintain and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.”