Addressing a youth meeting here, Obama said, "The notion that Washington and Beijing must be adversaries was not pre-destined."
"We do not seek to contain China's rise," The US president said before taking questions from the audience as well as from Chinese over the Internet.
Obama said, "China was a strong and prosperous and successful member of the community of nations."
Chinese state-run Internet sites have urged the public to ask US president to explain if he plans to meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader whom Beijing brands a separatist.
These events will be a warm-up for Obama's summit with President Hu Jintao in the capital on Tuesday, Nov 17.
"The president will be talking about balanced, strong sustainable growth and the policies that go into making that happen," a US official was quoted by news agency as saying.