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Official State Visit of President Hu Jintao of China

Balancing Economic Relations and Human Rights  ...1 of 12 >
January 19, 2011--President Barack Obama welcomed President Hu Jintao to the White House for an official state visit.  The visit comes at a time of some unease over China's growing economic and military might.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was famously quoted in one of the Wikileaks cables asking, "How do you deal toughly with your banker?"  According to one estimate China owns about $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities.  China is the United States' third largest trading partner after Canada and Mexico, but the relationship is such that the U.S. has run a trade deficit with China every year since 1985 (in 2010 it amounted to $252 billion +).  In addition to economic issues such as the value of the renminbi, fair trade practices and protection of intellectual property, the leaders also addressed regional and international issues and human rights.  The White House announced progress on a number of areas of concern as well as dozens of deals signed by Chinese and American companies.  [fact sheet]
 President Obama stated, "The United States welcomes China’s rise as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations."  President Hu declared, "I have come to the United States to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation, and push forward the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century."  [transcript]
At their joint press conference, the leaders delivered opening statements and took two questions from each nation's reporters.  Mix ups over translation caused a couple of awkward moments as President Hu said he missed the first question on human rights and at one point President Obama noted that he was hearing a question in Chinese.  Hu later did respond to the question on human rights, defending China's human rights record and saying the country has made "enormous progress," although he did say that "a lot still needs to be done in China, in terms of human rights."  President Obama prompted a bit of laughter when he stated rather bluntly, "We want to sell you all kinds of stuff."  "We want to sell you planes.  We want to sell you cars.  We want to sell you software," he elaborated.  [transcript]
And on the other side of the fence...

Hundreds of protesters made their views known.

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