News / Asia

China Sees Hu Visit as Building Trust

Chinese President Hu Jintao is on his way to the United States, with a message of the need for Sino-American cooperation, not confrontation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday that China hopes President Hu’s visit will strengthen "strategic mutual trust" between Beijing and Washington.

Hong says China hopes the visit will help the two sides regard each other objectively and respect what he described as "each other’s choices"”

He also called for both countries to expand the areas where they share interests, so that they can become partners in a broader range of issues.

Trade is one contentious issue, with a huge trade imbalance in China’s favor. A group of U.S. senators say they want to send a message to President Hu by introducing legislation to punish China with higher export tariffs. They accuse China of maintaining an unfair trade advantage by keeping its currency purposely undervalued.

The Chinese spokesman said he thinks China’s exchange rate is not the main cause of the U.S. trade deficit.

Hong called on U.S. lawmakers to understand the importance of Sino-American trade and avoid harming the overall interest of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

This is the first state visit by a Chinese leader to the United States since 1997.

J. Stapleton Roy, a former U.S. ambassador to China, says although President Hu may lack the personal charisma of his predecessors, he is still the most influential leader in China and U.S. leaders need to build a relationship with him.

"In China’s case, we’re moving into a period where the top leaders of China no longer have revolutionary credentials. They’re not the Mao, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping group, but they are still the top leader in China," Roy said.

President Hu is to have a private dinner with President Obama at the White House Tuesday, before the two leaders hold talks on Wednesday. Mr. Hu also meets with U.S. lawmakers and attends a state dinner in Washington before going to Chicago to meet with businessmen.

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