President George W Bush has urged the Chinese president to do more to close the US-China trade gap, and to take a sterner line with Iran and North Korea.
It is Hu Jintao's first official visit to the White House as Chinese leader
There were no breakthroughs at talks in Washington, though President Hu Jintao said China would "continue to take steps" to revalue China's currency.
A speech by President Hu at the White House was disrupted by a protester from the Falun Gong religious sect.
President Bush later said he regretted the "unfortunate" incident.
The female protester - identified as Wenyi Wang, an accredited journalist with the Epoch Times newspaper - yelled out from the media section during Mr Hu's speech.
"President Hu, your days are numbered. President Bush, make him stop persecuting Falun Gong," she shouted, in reference to the outlawed Chinese spiritual movement.
After shouting for several minutes, she was led away by White House security staff. The newspaper - which is understood to be supportive of the Falun Gong movement - later issued an apology.
The incident highlights the difficult relationship between the two countries - the US wants China to improve its human rights record but recognises the country's huge economic clout, says the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington.
Mr Bush urged Mr Hu to take action over the yuan. US producers say its low value is a barrier to exports to China, and has contributed to the massive US trade deficit with China - which reached $202bn (£113bn) last year.
Mr Bush said: "We would hope there would be more appreciation [of the currency]".
Mr Hu said: "We have taken measures and will continue to take steps to resolve the issue," though he did not give any details.
Mr Bush asked for China's help to restart stalled negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programme.
"I continue to seek President Hu's advice and co-operation and urge his nation to use its considerable influence with North Korea to make meaningful progress toward a Korean peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons," Mr Bush said.
Mr Hu pledged that China would try to help resolve nuclear disputes with both Iran and North Korea, but insisted on a diplomatic solution.
"We are ready to continue to work with the US... to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations," he said.
The US has refused to rule out military action against Iran.
Mr Hu, on his first US visit as Chinese leader, was welcomed at the White House in a colourful ceremony with military honours - although the trip is not a full state visit, and will not feature a black-tie formal dinner.
Outside the White House, demonstrators massed to protest against Beijing's human-rights policies.
Wenyi Wang waved a banner in Falun Gong's colours
Hundreds of people banged gongs, held up banners and chanted and waved American and Chinese flags.
In his speech, Mr Bush said he would "continue to discuss with President Hu the importance of respecting human rights and freedoms of the Chinese people".
Earlier, in a protocol gaffe, when China's national anthem was announced, it was referred to as the anthem of the Republic of China - the formal name of Taiwan. China's formal name is the People's Republic of China.