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Chinese President Lauds Bilateral Trade with US

On the eve of a crucial summit with President Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao has toured a Boeing aircraft factory and praised bilateral trade ties between the two countries.

Addressing hundreds of Boeing employees Wednesday, Mr. Hu said China would need to buy 2,000 planes in the next 15 years. He cited the cooperation between Boeing and China as an example of good bilateral relations between China and the United States.

Following his speech, Mr. Hu departed for Washington, D.C., where he is to meet with President Bush at the White House Thursday. The two leaders are expected to address a number of issues, including U.S. demands that China reform its currency and the Asian country's $200 billion trade surplus with the United States.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss nuclear negotiations with North Korea and Iran.

Mr. Hu is likely to call on the United States to reaffirm its stance that Taiwan is part of mainland China, while President Bush is expected to bring up China's human rights record.

On Friday, the Chinese president is expected to make a major policy speech at Yale University, in the northeastern U.S. state of Connecticut.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.