CHINA / National

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

Although the two countries also have a number of differences, the spokesman said, the US-Chinese relationship "has moved forward and matured to a point where we can speak openly and candidly about those disagreements."

President Hu Jintao (L) greets Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz (R) after arriving at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, April 18, 2006.
President Hu Jintao (L) greets Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz (R) after arriving at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, April 18, 2006. [Reuters]

Yuan Peng, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the summit would allow the two leaders to discuss how to establish a more stable strategic framework to ensure healthy and peaceful development of bilateral ties.

As Sino-US ties show signs of maturing, increased co-operation does not hinge on just one summit, Yuan told China Daily.

The Hu-Bush summit will focus on economic and trade frictions among other issues, predicted Zhu Feng, an expert on Sino-US relations at Peking University.

China is the third-largest trade partner of the United States, which is the second largest of China. However, the two countries have some frictions in the economic and trade sectors, ranging from the exchange rate of renminbi and the US trade deficit with China to IPR protection.

"The two leaders now face a new challenge: Whether or not economic and trade frictions will hinder the advancement of political relations," Zhu said.

China has shown its strong resolve to push forward economic and trade co-operation, said Zhu, citing the recent signing of agreements to buy products and commodities worth more than US$16 billion.

It is also important for the US administration to assure China that economic frictions will not block the progress of political ties, he said.

The researcher said the two countries should co-ordinate efforts in handling nuclear issues in Iran and the Korean Peninsula and in the anti-terrorism campaign.

On the question of Taiwan, the assurance by the US side on the one-China policy is not enough and the two countries must boost their co-operation to oppose and contain "Taiwan independence," which is beneficial to both sides, according to Zhu.

David M. Lampton, director of China Studies at Nixon Centre, said in an article published in the People's Daily on Monday that Hu's visit will "assist Americans to better understand the complexities of China's circumstances at the same time that he is exposed to the very real human problems Americans face."

"Leaders in America often follow public opinion. If the American people better understand China, their leaders will act on this improved understanding," he said.

Besides the United States, Hu will also visit Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya from April 22 to April 29.

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