Obama: Good US-China ties help the whole world

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says good ties between with United States and China are essential, and help the rest of the world.

Obama and China's next leader are getting their first chance to size up the other Tuesday. Obama welcomed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (She JIN'-ping) in the Oval Office. He says he's looking forward to future cooperation.

The warm smiles and handshakes mask sharp policy divisions over Syria, Iran and economic issues. Obama aides say those quarrels will be on the table for Xi's visit, along with longstanding U.S. concerns about Chinese human rights practices.

Xi was also seeing top U.S. national security leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.