CHINA / National

President Hu kicks off visit amid expectations
By Sun Shangwu and Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-19 06:18

President Hu Jintao arrived in Seattle today for his first state visit to the United States, the highlight of which will be a summit with his US counterpart George W. Bush in Washington DC.

hu jintao
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his wife Liu Yongqing arrive at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, April 18, 2006. [Reuters]

The long-awaited visit will help the two powers strengthen mutual understanding and trust while seeking more common ground, international studies experts and officials said.

Hu's first trip to Washington was four years ago when he was the vice-president; he had to postpone his planned US trip last September due to Hurricane Katrina.

During his two-day stay in this coastal city of Washington state, Hu will tour Microsoft's headquarters and dine with company founder Bill Gates before visiting a Boeing plant.

The president will then move to the east coast in an itinerary that includes a speech at Yale University, Bush's alma mater, to explain China's sustainable and peaceful growth strategy.

Hu's fifth summit with Bush since last May is likely to cover talks on Taiwan, trade, intellectual property rights and China's currency.

Also expected to be on the agenda are the nuclear standoffs on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang yesterday reaffirmed that Taiwan would be one of the main topics of discussion when the two leaders meet.

"The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relations," he told a regular press conference.

"We cannot sideline the Taiwan question."

In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told a news briefing on Monday that "President Bush is looking forward to seeing President Hu later this week."

"This is an important strategic relationship we have. There are many areas of common concern where we are working together."
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