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Obama offers congrats in call to Chinese president

White House says Obama offers congratulations in telephone call to new Chinese president Xi

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama made a congratulatory phone call to the new Chinese president and raised thorny issues of North Korea and cybersecurity.

The White House says Obama spoke to Xi Jingping Thursday as the Communist Party leader was elevated to the presidency. Xi takes over for Hu Jintao, China's president for the past decade.

A White House statement said they discussed the future of U.S.-China relations, including economic and security challenges.

“The president highlighted the threat to the United States, its allies, and the region from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and stressed the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitments,” the statement said.

The statement also said Obama discussed China's move toward a more flexible exchange rate and working together to expand trade opportunities.

Obama also mentioned the need to address intellectual property rights and cybersecurity threats, the statement said. The Obama administration has been escalating its criticism of cyber and intellectual property thefts by China.

The White House said Obama also noted that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will visit China next week and Secretary of State John Kerry also plans to visit next month.

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