Addressing business executives in Yokohama, President Obama said the economic crisis had shown the limits of depending on US consumers and Asian exporters to drive growth.
"Going forward, no nation should assume that their path to prosperity is simply paved with exports to America," he said.
He added that healthy competition need not cause rifts between nations.
"There's no need to view trade, commerce or economic growth as zero-sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another."
Taking the podium after Mr Obama, Mr Hu reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to gradual currency reform and balanced trade.
"China will continue making encouraging a balanced international balance of payments an important task in ensuring macro-economic stability," he said.
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