Barack Obama urged Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday to send a clear message to its ally North Korea that an alleged attack on a South Korean Navy vessel was unacceptable, US officials said, dpa reported.
Obama and Hu discussed the importance of rebalancing trade between their two massive economies during a meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the
Group of 20 (G20) bloc of emerging and industrial nations in Toronto.
The US has been pressing the UN Security Council to condemn the sinking of the South Korean vessel Cheonan in March, but China has so far balked at the proposal. North Korea denies it was behind the attack, though an international inquiry into the incident held the Stalinist regime responsible.
Obama told Hu "that we could not tolerate North Korea's attack on the Cheonan (and) that we had to send a clear message of response," said Jeff Bader, White House senior adviser on Asian affairs. "We look to China to help reinforce that message."
Separately, Obama "stressed the need for a level playing field on trade issues," though he also welcomed China's recent announcement that it would begin allowing its yuan currency to appreciate, Bader said.
In brief remarks to reporters after the meeting, Obama said only that the US and China had managed to "build a relationship of trust and mutual confidence" over the last 18 months, and "we have accomplished many things as a consequence of that hard work."
Hu said that China was looking to increase coordination with the US on major international issues and acknowledged there was still more to be done to address imbalances in the global economy.
"We are confronted with the challenges of promoting the full recovery of the world economy," Hu said. "We need to continue to follow the spirit of staying the same course and uniting together."