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  #1  
Old Saturday, April 29, 2006
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Post China president’s U.S visit

President Hu to visit US



President Hu Jintao is set to visit the United States in April, Hong Kong-based Wenweipo reported yesterday, citing diplomatic sources.
Both sides have reached a preliminary agreement on Hu's April visit to Washington, while negotiations on the exact date and arrangements for the visit are ongoing, the report said.
The Chinese president had planned to visit the US last September, but his trip had to be postponed due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina.
Hu accepted the second invitation offered by US president George W. Bush in November, when the latter paid an official visit to Beijing to promote bilateral ties.
Analysts say Hu's visit will be one of the important topics discussed when US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick meets Chinese officials during his three-day visit starting today.
Among other issues will be preparations for the third China-US strategic dialogue, as both sides have agreed to hold the dialogue in the first half of this year, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters at a regular news briefing last week.
Both China and the United States are important "stakeholders" in the international community and it will benefit both sides to listen to each other's views, Zoellick was quoted by China News Service as saying, adding that maintaining contacts with China is very important.
Zoellick first used the word "stakeholder" when describing Sino-US relations while delivering a speech at a dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations last September.
His speech was considered a sign of a shift in US diplomatic policy towards China from "strategic competitor" to an equal and important member in the current international system.
Zoellick's repeated emphasis of the word "stakeholder" and his visit to China show that Washington attaches great importance to Sino-US ties as well as Beijing's role in international affairs, said Shen Jiru, a researcher on international politics and economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The two countries witnessed a boom in high-ranking official exchanges last year.
The two heads of state met five times during the year and US president Bush paid his second trip to China.
Important US cabinet members including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defence Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Treasury John W. Snow, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, also made high-profile visits.
The two nations also held two successful strategic dialogues in August and December on topics of concern, which were described by Zoellick as "constructive."

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Post Hu's 'State Visit'

The White House has downgraded Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming "state visit" to Washington to a simple "official visit," according to spokesman Scott McClellan. Hu will have lunch with President Bush rather than a formal dinner, the distinguishing feature of a state visit. Chinese officials, however, continue to insist the trip is a "state visit.'' The dispute indicates the White House's low expectations for the event and is the latest in a series of public spats between the two countries.
The American side felt slighted when China announced the purchase of 150 Airbus planes from European competitors only a couple of weeks after placing an order for seventy Boeing jets during Bush's last visit to Beijing. The Administration is also unhappy with China's reaction to the State Department's 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices; the official Chinese statement declares that a government responsible for the Abu Ghraib prison abuses has no business disparaging others.
For its part, China is fuming over the Administration's continued efforts at "containment," the latest of which are far-reaching economic and military agreements with India aimed at countering Chinese influence in the region. Ironically, this is pushing some governments interested in trade with China to the other side. As one example, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer distanced himself from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just before Rice's arrival in Sydney to attend a strategic alliance conference with her Japanese and Australian counterparts, stating publicly that his country does not "support [the American] policy of containment of China...[which] would be a very big mistake."
The question is how far the US-China relationship can deteriorate without grave consequences for the United States. Economic ties between the two countries could not be closer, with a quarter of America's consumer goods made in China. To relieve the US trade deficit, primarily the result of imports, China is recycling its export earnings by purchasing US Treasury bonds. This has the effect of holding down US interest rates, maintaining American consumer spending and sustaining the mammoth US budget deficit--in effect, helping to finance the war in Iraq.
American big business does not want such a deterioration in relations; China is, after all, its leading global "profit center." Tapping into China's huge market has long been the dream of every American businessman. Big businesses prefer to ignore China's human rights violations; typical is Google, which has launched a version of its site that strips out information not approved by Chinese authorities in order to operate there. Big business is also weary of Congressional "protectionist" threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports unless China allows its currency to grow in value against the dollar. This protectionist game can cut both ways. After all, it is the Americans who have been lecturing the rest of the world about the virtues of free trade. Since joining the WTO, China has allowed considerably expanded foreign ownership of Chinese assets, but when a Chinese company tried to acquire UNOCAL, Congress cried foul in the name of a threat to US security. According to this logic, American multinationals have been violating the security of every nation on earth.
The deterioration of US-China relations could also have serious consequences for China, beset with internal contradictions. The benefits of prosperity have not reached rural areas, where three-quarters of China's 1.3 billion people reside. Millions are forced to leave their impoverished villages to find jobs as degraded laborers in urban centers. As the gap between the rich and poor widens, official corruption continues and the state uses ever harsher means to suppress dissent and organizing of any type, a simmering popular resentment is breaking out in a record number of riots and other manifestations of unrest.
Is destabilizing the Chinese Communist regime by humiliating its leaders and pursuing containment policies one of the goals of the Bush Administration's global "Democracy Project"? Elsewhere, the project is failing miserably: The attempt to democratize Iraq has ushered in a pro-Iranian, religious, Shiite-dominated government, and the attempt to do the same in Palestine has facilitated a Hamas victory.
If China becomes unstable, American big business won't sit still. The Bush Administration will be forced to intervene to protect investments by supporting the Chinese status quo, and America could again find itself propping up a dictatorial government. Ultimately, it is not the smartest move for the Administration to pull the red carpet from under Hu, when it is so mired in Iraq and desperately needs the Chinese to assist in constraining Iran and North Korea, the other two members of the "axis of evil."

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Post Hu makes first US visit as president

The Chinese president has arrived in the United States bearing business deals and words intended to allay fears about Beijing's ambitions.
The highlight of Hu Jintao's four-day trip will be a summit on Thursday with George Bush, the US president.
But he first landed in Seattle, where he was to tour a production plant belonging to Boeing, the aeroplane company whose business has boomed on Chinese orders.
Hu, whose entourage includes his foreign and trade ministers, was also due to dine at the $100 million home of Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft and the world's richest man.
In Seattle's Chinatown, many shops hung Chinese and US flags to welcome Hu, but police also expected Falun Gong protesters to make their presence felt.
The group, which promotes spiritual meditation, has been officially banned in China since 1999.
Trade
Ahead of the visit, China sought to quell US trade complaints by signing contracts worth $16.2 billion when Wu Yi, the vice-premier, visited the US last week.
The state-run China Daily said in an editorial: "Hu's trip is set to clear US minds of doubts and suspicion about China.
But Robert Zoellick, the US deputy secretary of state, said Beijing had been "agonisingly slow" in meeting US demands to reform its currency.
US officials say the yuan is undervalued, making Chinese exports artificially cheap.
Hu is seeking to calm US audiences not only about trade, but also about China's long-range ambitions.
In Seattle, Hu is to meet US and Chinese academics, including Zheng Bijian, a long-time Chinese Communist Party adviser who has promoted the idea that China's "peaceful rise" need not provoke severe conflict with Washington.
Iranian issue
In Washington DC, Hu will have lunch at the White House, although not the state banquet China has pressed for. China describes Hu's trip as a fully fledged state visit but the White House has said it is not.
"I intend of course to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao"
George Bush,
US president
Analysts in both countries have said the White House meeting is unlikely to produce major breakthroughs on trade and diplomatic strains, which include differing approaches to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.
Bush said he would raise the Iranian issue.
"I intend of course to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday," he said. "We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."
Sore points
Bush has singled out the $202 billion US trade deficit with China as his sorest point.
And he plans to press Hu to do more to stamp out commercial piracy of US patents, brands and copyrights. He has said he wants China to loosen currency controls faster to help balance trade flows.
But Chinese officials have said recently that their country must move at its own pace and will not be pushed by Washington into sudden currency and trade changes.
Wu, the vice-premier, said it was unscientific to blame China alone for the bilateral trade gap.
Hu wants to ensure stable relations with Washington as he prepares for his party's congress in 2007 and then Beijing's 2008 Olympics, Chinese academics and diplomats said.
He also wants Bush to offer some assurance that the US will give no leeway to Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan's president, Chinese analysts said.
Beijing says the self-ruled island must accept reunification with the mainland after over half a century of separation.
After his visit to the capital, Hu will go to Yale University to give a speech on China's "peaceful development".


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Post Mixed Reception Awaits Chinese President in U.S.

Seattle, April 17 - Red and gold Chinese flags drape the International District in celebration of Chinese President Hu Jintao's two-day stop here en route to Washington D.C. But some Seattle residents are not happy that the city and state are rolling out the red carpet.

Hundreds of demonstrators are expected downtown after Hu's arrival Tuesday.
Practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement labeled an "evil cult" in China, will be protesting oppression. Taiwanese-Americans will be asserting that island nation's right to independence. Tibetans will be calling for an end to China's rule of their homeland.
But for many, Hu's visit here - his first U.S. stop before going to Washington, D.C. - is good news.
"There's pride in the International District about China's rise, and lots of people will be quite happy that he's coming," said David Bachman, a professor at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.
Assunta Ng, who publishes the Northwest Asian weekly, said Hu's visit will be a test of his diplomacy. "The world is watching," said Ng, who also publishes the Chinese-language Seattle China Post, which last week offered a 12-page special section on Hu's visit.
Chinese-American community leaders organized a welcoming party "to counteract the protest," said Ng, who plans to join other media, including scores of reporters from China and Hong Kong, at Boeing Field for his arrival.
There won't be many protests from labor, said David Grove with the Washington State Labor Council. This is one state where the balance of trade with China is not a problem, he said. Just last week Beijing placed a tentative order for 80 Boeing jets, and Hu planned to visit Boeing's Everett plant Wednesday.
"Our members understand the significant role China's going to play in airplane sales for the next 20 years," said spokeswoman Connie Kelliher at Machinists Lodge 751, whose members help build those planes. "Our concern is always about how they treat their people," she said of the human-rights issues that continue to shadow China.
Hu is dining Tuesday with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose company also does big business with China. On Friday, China announced a ban on sales of computers without legal software to ease Microsoft's concerns about piracy.
The Chinese president is also meeting with Gov. Chris Gregoire and other U.S. Northwest leaders.
Tibet has been chafing under Chinese rule for decades - and, from 1988-1992, under Hu's leadership there.
"When he was there, the big pro-independence demonstration in 1989 was brutally cracked down under his orders," said Tenzin Wangyal of Seattle, whose family followed the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, into exile in India.
"A lot of peaceful protesters were killed and arrested and tortured and some to this day we don't know what happened to them," Wangyal said. "We feel that he has responsibility for what he has done."
Wangyal said he expects about 100 people, members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet and supporters from Seattle, Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Another 100 people are expected by Stanley Hsiao of Bellevue, Washington, a member of the Taiwanese-American Association of Greater Seattle. Taiwan split with China in 1949 amid civil war, but the mainland claims the island as part of its territory.
"Of course China, they try to indicate that they like to be friends with Taiwan but ... they have more than 800 missiles aimed at Taiwan," Hsiao said. He was wary of the motivation for Hu's visit, suggesting it was a "trick to temporarily please the American people."
Publisher Ng says Hu is different from his predecessors - younger, and an engineer by training.
"It's kind of unfortunate that even though he's young, his mind is old," countered Dr. Juang Lu Lin of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission. "He still stick to the old Chinese principle that Taiwan cannot separate from China."
Falun Gong practitioner Zhi-ping Kolouch said she hopes 300 people - from California, Oregon and Montana as well as the Seattle and Spokane areas - will join her Tuesday to protest Chinese oppression. She saw China's influence in the denial of a demonstration permit for her group.
"We're still going to have a sidewalk parade ... tell the people what's going on," she said, referring to imprisonment and torture that have drawn criticism from United Nations human-rights investigators. China said the investigators were not in the country long enough to understand its complexities.
"As long as persecution keep going, protest keep going, too," said Kolouch, who questioned why the state would do business with such a regime.

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Post Senior U.S. Official Discusses Chinese President Hu's Visit

By Stephen La Rocque
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- According to Vice President Dick Cheney, it is "essential" for U.S. and Chinese officials to "maintain contact at senior levels."
That's what the Vice President wrote in a letter to his Chinese counterpart inviting him to visit the United States, according to a senior administration official who briefed foreign journalists April 30 in Washington at the State Department's Foreign Press Center. Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao was beginning a trip to the United States that day with meetings with leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Cheney, in writing to his counterpart, had said it would "serve the interests of our countries and reflect the importance of the U.S.-China relationship if you could visit the United States" in 2002.
The visit, Cheney added, would "contribute to the maintenance of positive momentum in our bilateral relations and would give us a chance to explore means of deepening our ties in the future."
"I think the events of September 11th reminded the people of China and the people of the United States that we share many common interests," the senior administration official told reporters.
The awareness of a common interest in confronting international terrorism "has resulted in very good cooperation between our two countries in the war against terrorism -- cooperation that our president has welcomed," the official said.
"President Bush seeks, as he has told the Chinese leadership, a candid, constructive and cooperative relationship with China," the official added. "That is the context in which this visit is occurring."
The senior administration official said the United States and the People's Republic of China do not agree on every issue.
"Differences will arise," the official said. "That's why it's important that we continue to talk, that we continue to meet at the highest level to exchange views, to build on points of convergence and to try to diminish the points of divergence."
The official said the United States and the Chinese government consult on the situation on the Korean peninsula.
"I think we share common interests on the Korean peninsula," the official said. "We want a stable Korean peninsula -- both of us. Instability there is dangerous to both of our interests."


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Post Serious diplomatic gaffes mar Chinese president's visit

Washington: It does not get much worse for China's President Hu Jintao than being heckled inside the White House by a pro-Falun Gong supporter on his first official visit to this country. That is, of course, if one discounts China being introduced as Republic of China, the name used by Taiwan.

Both these diplomatic disasters hit Hu's visit to the White House Thursday during the official welcoming ceremony at the South Lawn of the White House. A credentialed journalist of Chinese origin heckled the Chinese leader reportedly telling him that "Your days are numbered" and asking President George W. Bush to help stop persecution of the Falun Gong members.

The Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that was banned in China in 1999. There have been many reports of the Falun Gong members being tortured by the Chinese authorities.

The protester practically shrieked, startling both Bush and Hu, the latter having just begun his address. He was heckled just as he was saying, "Mr. President. I wish to convey to the great American people the warm greetings and best wishes of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. I have come to enhance dialogues, expand common ground, deepen mutual trust and cooperation and to promote the all-around growth of constructive and cooperative China-U.S. relations in the 21st century."

According to the transcript on the White House, Bush asked his guest, "You are okay?" Hu, however, did not respond and continued with his address.

Earlier, while introducing the national anthem of China, the announcer said Republic of China instead of People's Republic of China. The former is being used by Taiwan with which Beijing has strained relations.

Referring to Taiwan, Bush said, "The United States will also be candid about our policy toward Taiwan. The United States maintains our one-China policy based on the three communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act. We oppose unilateral changes in the status quo in the Taiwan Strait by either side, and we urge all parties to avoid confrontational or provocative acts. And we believe the future of Taiwan should be resolved peacefully."

In response, Hu said, "President Bush, you and the U.S. government have stated on various occasions that you are committed to the one-China policy, abide by the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, and oppose Taiwan independence. We appreciate your commitments."

To make his stand completely unambiguous he said, "Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. We will continue to make every effort and endeavor with every sincerity to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification of the two sides across the Taiwan Straits. We will work with our Taiwan compatriots to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. However, we will never allow anyone to make Taiwan secede from China by any means."

The visit was particularly significant since both sides had been working on it for at least a year. Despite the embarrassing start, the two sides appeared to have recovered in the summit level talks. They agreed to cooperate more closely on fighting nuclear proliferation and trade imbalances.

According to The New York Times, Bush apologized to Hu for the morning fiasco. The Chinese side was reported to be quite miffed at it, as it cancelled a briefing by Chinese foreign ministry officials because of the incident.

On balance the visit did not produce any dramatic outcomes even as it was not expected to. No new agreements were announced even though the two sides agreed to cooperate in the areas of nuclear proliferation and issues such Iran's nuclear quest, violence in Darfur, Sudan.

On the economic side the two leaders discussed China's controversial currency policy which the US believes keeps the yuan artificially low as well as rampant piracy of American products and software. Some headway is expected on the two issues.

There was no word about the Tibet issue despite the fact that the Dalai Lama happens to be in the US currently. There had been some speculation about Hu and the Dalai Lama meeting, a suggestion dismissed by the Tibetan officials as "unrealistic."


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Question U.S., China Stand Together but Are Not Equal

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer

On the surface, the White House visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday was a celebration of improving Sino-U.S. ties. But the subtext was the future -- and how these two countries will share the international stage.
At every turn, Hu sought to stress the equality between the two nations, which, as he put it in a luncheon toast, are the "largest developing country and the largest developed country." Speaking to reporters after his meeting with President Bush, he said an "important agreement" was reached: "Under the new circumstances, given the international situation here, that China and the United States share extensive, common strategic interests."
For his part, Bush tried to signal that China is not all that equal. The White House would not grant Hu the state dinner he dearly wanted, offering instead a lunch that fell just short of the pomp and circumstance for close allies. Meeting with reporters, Bush simply said, "It's a very important relationship."
How the relationship evolves from this point is unclear. China's foreign policy now is influenced mainly by domestic considerations, especially its desperate need for energy and materials. While the Bush administration has been distracted by the war against terrorism and the invasion of Iraq, the Chinese have forged trade links around the world, even in South America, supposedly U.S. turf.
This trade has begun to give the Chinese enormous influence in many parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia. In the past year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sought to counter that influence, pursuing for instance a nuclear agreement with India that could result in much closer links with New Delhi, long a rival of China. Administration officials insist that they are not trying to box China in, but want it to use its influence in productive, non-threatening ways.
In the view of administration officials, China's rise will always be tempered by its poor human-rights record and the Communist Party's unwillingness to release its grip on political power.
Yet any notion that the two countries are fierce rivals is belied by the corporate executives who were invited to the lunch at the White House, including the chiefs of Cisco Systems, International Paper, Amway, Lucent Technologies, Cargill, Caterpillar and Motorola. An additional 900 people attended a dinner in Hu's honor last night sponsored by the U.S.-China Business Council and other organizations, where he urged that China and the United States "respect each other and treat each other as equals."
The contrasting ideas about the modern U.S.-China relationship were reflected in how the two leaders used language yesterday, including the word "stakeholder." Words are very important to the Chinese government -- much of Bush's conversation with Hu consisted of reciting stock phrases on such issues such as Taiwan, an aide said -- and nuance usually has a purpose and design.
Greeting Hu on the White House lawn, Bush said, "As stakeholders in the international system, our two nations share many strategic interests."
Bush's use of the word "stakeholder" was deliberate. For the past six months, the administration -- especially Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick -- has urged China to become a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system, meaning that it shed its habit of looking at the world through its narrow commercial interests and instead take a broader view. In particular, U.S. officials want China to curtail its dealings with countries such as Iran and Sudan as a way to alter the behavior of those countries.
At the luncheon, Hu also mentioned the concept of the stakeholder, but he framed it differently, again appearing to place China on an equal level with the United States. "China and the United States are not only stakeholders, but they should also be constructive partners -- be parties of constructive cooperation."
A key test of that partnership will be how China reacts to U.S. efforts to counter the development of Iran's nuclear program -- and whether it can force its patron North Korea to return to six-nation talks on ending its nuclear ambitions. Hu suggested China wants to work with the Bush administration on those issues, but he also urged "flexibility" on North Korea -- Chinese code for the desire that the United States make concessions.

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Post US-China Relations

President Hu Goes to Washington
On Thursday, April 20, Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Washington. Topics of discussion between U.S. and Chinese officials will include trade grievances such as widespread bootlegging of American goods, yuan exchange rate controls, and a trade gap which hit a record $202 billion in 2005. Below, Cato Institute's trade and foreign policy experts comment on the significance of the visit and U.S-China relations.
Daniel Griswold, Cato's director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies:
"The upcoming meeting in Washington between President Bush and China's President Hu provides an opportunity for both leaders to emphasize the huge benefits our countries realize from expanding trade. China is now America's number three trading partner, and our fastest growing major export market. Tens of millions of American families benefit everyday from the clothing, shoes, toys and electronics imported from China. Millions of U.S. companies and homeowners enjoy lower interest rates because of Chinese investment in our country."
"President Bush should not hesitate to raise difficult issues with President Hu. China's fixed currency system, its remaining barriers to international competition and investment, and the lack of many basic freedoms in China should all be discussed. But in all those areas, the United States should seek to influence China through diplomacy and established world trade rules, not through unilateral and economically damaging trade sanctions."
• "A China Policy in America’s Interest," The Hill, September 13, 2005.
• "Protectionism No Fix for China's Currency," June 25, 2005.
James A. Dorn, Cato Institute China specialist.
"When China's head of state, President Hu Jintao, meets with President Bush in Washington this week (April 20) the climate will be tense. Recently released data show that China's overall trade deficit continues to reach record levels, and little progress has been made in getting Beijing to let the renminbi appreciate against the dollar. Although Hu hopes to diminish this tension with promises to buy $16.2 billion from the U.S., such 'checkbook diplomacy' will barely make a dent in the $202 billion U.S. trade deficit with China."
"Threatening China with punitive tariffs and other protectionist measures, however, would be an act of economic suicide. It would impose a high tax on U.S. consumers, harm multinational corporations like Wal-Mart, weaken reformers in China, invite retaliation, and diminish the doctrine of free trade that must be at the center of a vibrant global economy. Instead, the U.S. and China need to take positive steps to reinforce the policy of engagement, and Congress needs to pay less attention to the trade deficit and more to government profligacy at home."
• "China’s Dilemma," Baltimore Examiner, April 19, 2006.
• "A Capital Problem," Wall Street Journal Asia, March 23, 2006.
• "Let Business Trump Quest for Dominance," Japan Times, November 13, 2005.
• "An Abuse of the Free Market," South China Morning Post, August 5, 2005.
• "Have patience with Beijing," Australian Financial Review, July 25, 2005.
• "Zhao’s Market-Liberal Vision," Apple Daily, January 26, 2005.
Daniel Ikenson, Cato Institute trade policy analyst.
"Chinese president Hu Jintao will visit with President Bush in Washington next week amid growing tensions in the bilateral trade relationship. The U.S. Congress, in particular, has been fueling those tensions by alleging or intoning that the large U.S. bilateral trade deficit is the product of unfair Chinese trade practices, like currency manipulation, intellectual property piracy, opaque market barriers, and government subsidization of industry."
"While China can and should do more to curb these practices, their relationship to the trade deficit is overblown. And some of the reactionary measures proposed in Congress to compel Chinese action would hurt both economies and would undermine U.S. international trade credibility. There isn't anything wrong with holding China to account over the commitments it made when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. But it must be done within the rules and within the context of the broader objectives of U.S. policy toward China."
• "There's a New Tariff in Town," Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 2006.
• "Cornering Freedom in China," January 4, 2006.
• "Diamond-in-the-rough Proposals on China," Washington Times, May 19, 2005.
Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato's vice president for foreign policy and defense studies and author of America's Coming War with China: a Collision Course over Taiwan.
"Four security topics are likely to dominate the summit between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Those issues are North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the Iranian nuclear crisis, the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, and Taiwan. President Bush will press Hu for greater cooperation on resolving the North Korea and Iran crises -- including a willingness by Beijing to endorse economic sanctions, if that step becomes necessary. Hu will express China's concern about the U.S.-India nuclear deal and its potential to damage the global campaign against proliferation. He also will be seeking a strong statement from the United States condemning Taiwan's recent attempts to push the envelope on independence. Although both leaders will attempt to emphasize the mutual interests of their two countries and minimize areas of disagreement, there is likely to be little substantive progress on security issues. The policy differences are simply too profound."
• "How China Can Reassure Neighbors, U.S.," March 17, 2006.
• "China Should Come Clean on Defense Spending," South China Morning Post, October 25, 2005.
• "The Pentagon's Surprisingly Sober Look at China," National Interest, August 16, 2005.
Steve H. Hanke, Cato Institute senior fellow.
"The Bush Administration and many in Congress argue that a significant yuan appreciation against the U.S. dollar-- 20 percent or more -- will help China. This latest version of Uncle-Sam-knows-best is laughable. An appreciation in the yuan of 20 percent would generate a 12.5 percent deflationary impulse in China and an economic slump. It would also completely sink China's banking system and spread untold hardship among China's 800 million restless rural residents."


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Post US visit marks Chinese president's most important trip abroad

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States is arguably the most important overseas trip of his three years in office, with hopes high in Beijing that it will boost his image at home and abroad.
While the visit is aimed at improving Sino-US relations, it is also geared towards showing Chinese people and the rest of the world that China is a major global player, received with respect by the world's superpower, analysts said.
"From the Chinese perspective, it's about image, Americans showing respect to the relatively new president," said Paul Harris, a Sino-American relations specialist at Hong Kong's Lingnan University.
"This is long-term foreign policy process for the Chinese leadership -- to be seen as respected by the domestic audience, by the Western world and by the Japanese. The Americans have a much simpler view, focusing on particular issues."
For such reasons, Hu turned down an invitation from President George W. Bush to spend two days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and pushed for a state visit instead, according to analysts and Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper.
Bush, who prefers relaxed affairs to formal gatherings, later agreed to a format similar to a state visit, but without a state dinner.
Hu will be treated to a formal White House luncheon instead, in addition to full military honors at a welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn and a meeting with Bush in the Oval Office.
From the perspective of certain conservative wings of China's Communist Party, it would not been wise for Hu to be seen as cozying up to Americans, Harris said.
Some analysts, however, believe China is making a mistake by being caught up in symbolism.
"Bush offered... to Hu: Come to the ranch, or to Camp David, where we can roll up our sleeves and talk, and the Chinese went for show over substance," said Ralph Cossa, a China specialist at the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"The Chinese are missing an opportunity to work on the chemistry angle."
How leaders from the two countries get along has an impact on bilateral relations, analysts said.
In the 1970s, a certain level of chemistry between President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong saw the two countries mending ties, said He Maochun, a Sino-US relations expert at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
In the 1980s, rapport between President Ronald Reagan and China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, helped usher in a period of warmer relations despite the countries' vast ideological divide, He said.
With a serious, cautious, and reserved style, Hu seems an exact opposite of Bush, who is known for his relaxed, joking manner.
"It's unrealistic for the two men to have deep friendship, due to their differences in culture, religious conviction and personality," He said.
It is also unclear whether Hu will make a dent in American public opinion and convince them China is not a threat.
Despite being the head of the world's most populous and biggest developing nation, Hu is surprisingly an unknown internationally, less recognized than leaders of smaller countries such as Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko.
That has as much to do with China's system of governance -- which favors collective leadership and shies away from leader worship-- as it does Hu's personality.
The 63-year-old Hu, by nature shuns the limelight and is meticulous about not doing anything to jeopardise his image, especially as it remains unclear whether he has consolidated power.
He has never given a press conference in China.
No solo or even brief joint press conference after talks with Bush has been scheduled for the visit, a foreign ministry official said.

plz pray,
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Post Chinese President's Visit: A Real Hu-Done It

Chinese President Hu is visiting Washington tomorrow, for meetings with President Bush and other high officials. The big question is whether he will make a declaration that China will allow its currency to revalue, or whether the meetings will just be one big yuan. Hu knows?
There have been a few tantalizing hints, so we'll see. Lower-level Chinese officials agreed to remove some thorny trade barriers last week, and we hope that positive attitude will be carried forward tomorrow by you know Hu.
China's $200 billion surplus with the United States (estimated to grow to $250 billion this year) is creating a huge distortion in trade, as is China's rapidly growing surplus with the whole world. Low labor costs and other advantages are one thing, but a deliberately undervalued currency that so far has been obtained at the cost of China purchasing nearly $1 trillion of U.S. dollars, is another. Not good for China either, to have all that money tied up in low-interest U.S. government securities rather than putting it to work raising the living standard of the huge poor areas of China. China needs to shift from export-led growth to domestic-led growth not just for a smoother trade relationship, but also for the sake of its own economy.
China's president is the lead item in the Hu's Who of China, and lets hope that he is the lead item in cooperating with President Bush so both of them can agree on steps that will close the yuaning U.S.-China trade gap.

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I don't think we will see any real movement in the Yuan. I just read somewhere that China doesn't even have much of a trade surplus if we were to exclude the United States.

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