WASHINGTON (CN) – In a meeting Monday with President Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to back the United States in putting sanctions on Iran to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. White House Asia adviser Jeff Bader called the agreement “a sign of international unity on Iran,” as China has close energy ties to Iran.
During the hour and a-half meeting Monday afternoon, the two leaders affirmed their joint desire that Iran be pressured to keep its international nonproliferation obligations and cease its nuclear program.
The meeting was part of a series of bilateral talks taking place during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington this week, in which 47 global leaders have gathered to discuss securing nuclear material against terrorists.
Obama and Hu agreed to push their delegations to work with the other members of the P5-plus-1 – Britain, France, Russia, and Germany – and the U.N. Security Council to move closer to establishing sanctions against Iran. The two countries agreed to work on a resolution before the non-proliferation treaty review next month in New York.
“The resolution will make clear to Iran the costs of pursuing a nuclear program that violates Iran’s obligations and responsibilities,” Bader said.
China had been hesitant to commit to sanctions against Iran because it is dependent on Iran for a steady supply of oil. China, the second largest consumer of oil after the United States, imports nearly 12 percent of its oil from Iran. Obama assured the Chinese president that the United States would help find fuel for China if it agreed to sanctions against Iran.
Obama also expressed his desire that China release its fixed hold on the country’s exchange rate, which economic experts say is artificially driving up the value of China’s currency. Obama told Hu that releasing the hold was crucial to achieving a “sustained and balanced global economic recovery.”
The meeting was the fourth time the two leaders have met in person.
The nuclear summit continues all day Tuesday. Sirens can be heard throughout the nation’s capital as police escort the leaders to and from meetings and summit events.
Obama’s main objective for the summit is to obtain commitments from world leaders to secure or destroy all nuclear materials within four years, keeping them out of the hands of terrorists and moving the world closer to the complete eradication of nuclear weapons.
The summit is the largest meeting of world leaders called by a U.S. president since 1945, when President Franklin Roosevelt called the meeting that formed the United Nations.