Shanghai: Visiting US President Barack Obama said here on Monday that he need to know more about China.
"The main purpose of my trip is to deepen my understanding of China and its vision of the future," Obama told an audience of more than 500 local youths, many of whom students from Fudan University and Tongji University.
"We do not seek to impose any form of government on any other nation," Obama said, noting access to information and political participation are universal rights that guide America’s openness.
The China trip is also part of his first to Asia as president. In his wide-ranging speech in Japan on Saturday, Obama said he would welcome, not fear, a robust China as a powerful partner on urgent challenges.
"The rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations," he told 1,500 prominent Japanese.
The ongoing event attracted for more than 100 reporters, the large majority of them from the US and the rest from China.
The meeting on the fourth floor of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum was scheduled to last for 75 minutes, with Obama speaking for 15 minutes and the an hour-long question and answer session.
Before Obama's speech, Jon Huntsman, US ambassador to China said, "the timing could not be better" for increasing bilateral relations at the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations ties.
Obama met local leaders in the morning. He arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport just after 11 pm last night.
The 48-year-old, the first US president to visit China within the first year of taking office, will fly to Beijing immediately after meeting the youths.
He is expected to arrive in the nation’s capital at around 4:30 pm. President Hu Jintao will host a state dinner for Obama at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in the evening