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Chinese President Postpones His First Official Trip to the US in Aftermath of Katrina

Chinese President Hu Jintao has postponed his first official visit to the United States as President Bush this week deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Both leaders have agreed to reschedule their meeting when they attend the United Nations annual gathering in New York later this month.

Hu Jintao and President Bush were scheduled to meet Wednesday for what would have been the Chinese President's first official visit to Washington. However, the two leaders talked by phone Saturday night and agreed to postpone the visit as Mr. Bush deals with the crisis in Louisiana caused by Hurricane Katrina.

In a Foreign Ministry Web site statement, President Hu says the Chinese people "stand steadfastly" with Americans as they face this serious natural disaster. China has offered $5 million in aid for victims of the hurricane.

Professor Jianwei Wang, at the University of Wisconsin, says this summit was to be fairly routine.

"This is simply another step to maintain the momentum of higher-level exchanges between the two sides so that misperceptions or misunderstandings could be reduced to a minimum to avoid any possible crisis," he said.

The two leaders agreed to meet later this month on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Hu was also going to visit Seattle and Washington and to give a speech at Yale University before traveling to Canada and Mexico.

Relations between the United States and China have been strained in recent months from a textile trade dispute and concerns about China's energy demands and military spending.