Chinese president’s US trip focused on business

January 19th, 2011 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, Jan 19 (IANS) Chinese President Hu Jintao began a four-day state visit to the US clearly focused on business, much like his host President Barack Obama’s trip to India in November.Reflecting the importance Obama places on the economic relationship with China to boost exports and spur job growth, Vice President Joe Biden personally greeted Hu at the Andrews Air Force Base as he arrived to a red carpet welcome Tuesday.

Before a formal welcome at the White House and bilateral talks Wednesday, Obama hosted Hu at a private dinner Tuesday attended by to aides like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

Hu will be guest of honor at a formal White House state dinner Wednesday, the first for a Chinese leader in 13 years. It will be Obama’s third state dinner starting with the first one for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Nov 24, 2009.

Accompanying Hu for his first state visit to the US are Chinese executives, including those from auto- parts maker Wanxiang America Corp. Hu will also tour a Chinese factory near Chicago and meet with US business leaders from companies such as Boeing Co. and General Electric Co.

However, Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs stressed that the Hu visit was “a little different” from Obama’s India trip when commercial deals worth over $10 billion were signed.

“This is a little different than our trip to India in the sense that, as I said, the economic relationship that we have with the Chinese is different on a scale with what we do with India, which is why some of the commercial diplomacy around the India trip was so significant,” he told reporters at the White House Wednesday.

“Obviously we continue to believe that American companies produce the best products in the world and that they have a demand from China,” he said. But “I have not been told of any big deals that will be rolled out tomorrow, but I’m certainly all ears if anything happens.”

Gibbs noted that two of Obama’s three state dinners would have been for India and China- “the fastest-growing region of the world.”

“India enjoys a very personal relationship with the United States and has through the administrations of President (Bill) Clinton, President (George) Bush and now President Obama; all taking important steps in visiting that country.”

“Obviously, whether it is the Secretary of State’s first trip to-in her tenure to Asia, our visits back and forth to China, to Korea, to Japan, Indonesia, India, other countries in that region, this is this is a dynamic region of the world, one that is growing faster than any other, and one that needs to have the full engagement of the United States of America,” he said.

“That hasn’t always been the case in this region of the world. And given its growth and its dynamism, that is something that our country can’t afford,” he said.

In another matter of interest to India, State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley indicated that talks with Hu may touch upon China’s plans to transfer civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan.

“I am confident that we will talk about nuclear issues, non-proliferation concerns with China, he said: “As a member of the UN Security Council, these issues come before the council on a regular basis.

“I’m confident that we’ll talk about North Korea and Iran. I’m not ruling out a broader discussion, but I just can’t predict at this point.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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