Hu starts state visit to U.S.
Chinese President Hu Jintao landed in the U.S. capital of Washington Tuesday for a four-day state visit aimed at enhancing the positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship between China and the United States.
“I look forward to having in-depth discussions with President (Barack) Obama on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of shared interest,” President Hu said in a statement released upon his arrival at the airport.
He said the purpose of his visit is to enhance mutual trust, promote friendship, deepen cooperation and move forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century.
“I also look forward to meeting American friends from various sectors to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples,” he said.
Noting that the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, Hu said China and the United States have growing common interests and responsibilities and enjoy broader prospect for cooperation.
Hu said the long-term, sound and steady growth of China-U.S. relations is conducive to the fundamental interests of the Chinese and American peoples and to world peace and development.
“China stands ready to work with the United States to actively develop China-U.S. relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit and join all other countries in a common effort to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity,” Hu said.
In the statement, Hu lauded the wholly sound momentum of growth in Sino-U.S. relations over the past three decades, citing fruitful cooperation in a wide range of areas and productive communication and coordination on major international and regional affairs.
“Our cooperation has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples and played an important role in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond,” Hu said.
During the visit, his second to the United States as head of state of China, President Hu and his U.S. counterpart Obama will map out a blueprint together for China-U.S. cooperation for the new era, Chinese officials said.
The two leaders are expected to have extensive and in-depth discussions on major topics of mutual interest when they meet for talks at the White House on Wednesday.
Before their Wednesday talks, Obama will host a small private dinner in the Old Family Room at the White House for President Hu Tuesday evening, hours after the Chinese leader’s arrival.
“It’s a very unusual — unusually small dinner that we’ll have with President Hu, again reflecting the relationship that we are evolving, and the opportunity to have candid conversation in much less formal settings than you typically would see, frankly, in a meeting between the Chinese and the United States,” U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told reporters last Friday.
The Chinese leader will be welcomed at a formal ceremony given by Obama at the White House ahead of their talks. Obama will host Hu for an official state dinner on Wednesday night.
According to Chinese officials, during his visit, President Hu will meet with people from various walks of life in the United States, and elaborate on the domestic and foreign policies of the Chinese government and on how to advance China-U.S. relations in the new era.
The two sides are expected to sign a series of important cooperation documents and announce a host of new cooperation projects in economy and trade, energy, environmental protection, infrastructure development, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges.
During a meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Jan. 4, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to “building a bilateral relationship that is comprehensive in scope, positive in achievement, and cooperative in nature.”
“The President said he looked forward to the visit of President Hu and to the U.S. and China working together effectively to address global challenges,” said a White House statement.
Since Obama took office two years ago, the overall development of Sino-U.S. relations is stable despite disputes over issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, RMB exchange rate and trade between the two countries. Hu and Obama agreed to build “a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century” during their first meeting in London in April 2009.
In November 2009, Obama paid a state visit to China, during which the two sides reiterated in a joint statement that “they are committed to building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century, and will take concrete actions to steadily build a partnership to address common challenges.”
In the past two years, Hu and Obama met several times to discuss how to boost the bilateral ties and how to address major world and regional challenges.
The two sides have established the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues and the high-level consultation on people-to-people exchange, setting up unique and effective platforms to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between China and the United States.
In the past two years, China and the United States maintained close contact and coordination in tackling the international financial crisis, pushed forward the reform of global economic governance and played an important role in spurring world economic recovery.
The two countries have also expanded mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, energy, environment, culture, counter-terrorism, and law enforcement.
China and the United States are now each other’s second largest trading partner. The two-way trade between the two countries is expected to top 380 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. China has been the fastest-growing major export market of the United States for nine consecutive years.
Contacts and exchange of visits between the two peoples have also increased in a broad and in-depth manner. Today, around 120,000 Chinese students are studying in the United States and more than 20,000 American students are studying in China.
The two countries have maintained effective coordination on regional hotspot issues such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue and South Asia, and on global issues including climate change, the Group of 20, the United Nations reform, and the fight against transnational crimes.
However, the development of Sino-U.S. relations is not always smooth. Issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, RMB exchange rate and trade have become obstacles to the stable and healthy development of the bilateral ties in recent years.
Addressing the Second Lanting Forum in Beijing last Friday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said: “Some of the issues between China and the United States have been there for a long time and are of great importance. The most important and most sensitive of these is the Taiwan issue, an issue that concerns China’s core interests of sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the political foundation of China-U.S. relations.”
He said that there are also structural issues between China and the United States that are a result of their different social systems, historical and cultural backgrounds and development levels.
“We also have disagreements over specific issues due to diverging interests in certain areas or lack of effective communication and coordination,” he said.
All these issues and disagreements need to be “appropriately managed so as to maintain the sustained, sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations,” Cui said.
In Washington, President Hu will also meet some members of the U.S. Congress and business leaders.
From Washington, the Chinese leader will travel to Chicago to continue his state visit.
“We have good reason to believe that with the efforts of both sides, President Hu’s state visit will forcefully move forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S relationship in the new era,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang at the luncheon hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Jan. 6.
Hu paid his first state visit to the United States in April 2006.