News / Asia

Washington, Beijing Both Portray Hu Visit in Positive Light

The reaction to the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao has been positive in both the United States and in China, but for different reasons.

Hu Jintao's trip to the White House was reported widely in the Chinese media, with public television screens in the capital Beijing broadcasting his visit and photos of President Barack Obama and President Hu splashed across the front-pages of all major newspapers.

On Wednesday, Hu was quiet on the issue of an undervalued Chinese currency and initially did not respond to a reporter's question on human rights.  Hu later said he had not heard properly because of a translation problem, and conceded that China had much to do to improve on its human rights record.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday while President Obama was pleased to hear the comment, the United States will be looking for actions to support it. "Acknowledging that you have improvements to make is part of it.  But it is a very small part compared to what has to be done to make progress, and that is what we will watch," Gibbs said.

The human rights issue remains in a different light on the streets of Beijing, where college student Chen Yisien expressed her views.

"They are just using it as an excuse to attack China. The US issues a global report on human rights every year, but never mentions itself in it. Then China would release a similar report on the U.S. the next day. I think human rights in all countries have improved, but still have flaws. Disparity is inevitable,'' Yisien said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs also indicated progress was made on security issues and a greater market approach to valuing the yuan.

"The next step is with the Chinese in taking (and) continuing to take actions at a faster pace to deal with the valuation of their currency," Gibbs said.

Again in Beijing, Chinese residents like Kuo Saoqin supported their president and maintained a different view on the exchange rate question. "The U.S. is pushing for the increase of the renminbi (yuan) exchange rate for selfish reasons. They do not care about others. They just want to take control and have everyone listen to them. Nobody will listen to you if you do things that are harmful to their own national interest,'' Kuo said.

Still, the visit was portrayed as positive by both sides, and in China, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei echoed the upbeat tone.

"President Hu had successful talks with President Obama.  The two sides agreed to work on building a Sino-American partnership of mutual benefit and mutual respect, a ‘trend of the times’," Hong said.

Trade and security issues have strained relations between China and the United States over the past year.  But during President Hu's state visit, the two nations did agree on a U.S. export deal worth $45 billion.

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