U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao interrupted their high-powered diplomacy on Monday to share a moment of silence in memory of the miners who have died in recent accidents in both countries.
Obama paused during vital talks ranging from sanctions against Iran to China’s yuan currency on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit to tell Hu about the 29 miners lost in a mine blast in West Virginia last week.
Recalling 85 miners had also died in China’s Shanxi province in the last 10 days, Obama asked both delegations to take a moment to honor the dead, the White House said.
The United States, whose own coal mining industry a century ago was plagued with the frequency of disasters China still experiences, has for the past decade conducted a mine safety program with China. The program includes a model mine in Shanxi province and brings Chinese safety officials and engineers to West Virginia for training.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama greets China’s Hu Jintao)