The Chinese vice president at the White House

President of the United States Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Beijing to respect the “rules” in the global economy, when meeting with the likely future Chinese number one Xi Jinping for the first time in the Oval Office of the White House.

While welcoming the “extraordinary development of China over the past two decades,” Mr. Obama said that “with more power and prosperity comes greater responsibility” for Beijing.

“We want to work with China to ensure that everyone plays under the same rules regarding the global economic system. This means that there must be a balanced trade flows not only between U.S. and China but also worldwide,” Obama said.

The exchange rate of the yuan is one of the main issues of contention between the two superpowers. The United States had a record trade deficit with China in 2011.

In his visit to the State Department, Mr. Xi acknowledged that Beijing and Washington should work to seek a “balanced” commercial relationship.

At the White House, Obama also promised that his country would continue “to emphasize what we think is important, the realization of the aspirations and all rights” in China.

Xi held that “it is always possible to improve things when talking about human rights”, but argued that China must simultaneously manage “a huge population” and “considerable regional contrasts”.

The Chinese vice president continued his visit in the Pentagon where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called for more “trust and mutual understanding between our two armies.”

He also urged to work towards a “real strategic transparency”, while Mr Xi said to be “in tune” with the idea of developing relations between the two countries’ military. Washington is concerned about the rise of the Chinese army.

Just before his arrival, Xi warned Washington the significant increase of US military resources in the Asia-Pacific. In 2011, Obama announced that his country would strengthen its military presence in Australia.

Xi’s visit is seen in Washington as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a more peaceful relationship between two countries with closely linked economies, while the two countries are competing in arena of influence.

According to Jay Carney, the spokesman for Mr. Obama, Mr. Obama mentioned the situation in Syria, ten days after Beijing and Moscow had vetoed a UN resolution condemning the suppression by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Unless dramatic turn of events, Xi will succeed Hu Jintao as head of the Communist Party of China in October 2012 and as Chief of State in March 2013.

And Tuesday, Xi hoped that this election year in the United States would not have an “unfortunate impact” on the links between the US and China, while the last campaign of the parliamentary in 2010 overtly gave place to anti-Chinese advertisements in the TV.

Mr. Xi invited Obama to visit China, but the White House did not say if the president would respond to this invitation.

Accompanied by his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, the Chinese leader then attended a meeting with businessmen from both countries in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, near the White House.