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China's next leader Xi Jinping visits White House

 Demonstrators line up to welcome the arrival of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2012.  (AP Photo Manuel Balce Cene...

US China

Demonstrators line up to welcome the arrival of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2012. (AP Photo Manuel Balce Cene...

China's likely future leader Xi Jinping made his first visit to the White House Tuesday and said he wanted to continue building a cooperative relationship with the United States.
Xi's visit is being closely watched because he will likely lead China over the coming decade, but his remarks after his welcome by Vice President Joe Biden did not deviate from customary diplomatic rhetoric.
Biden told Xi that the two powers should work together despite their differences.
Xi will meet with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office later Tuesday.
Xi is slated to become China's Communist Party leader in the fall, and president in 2013. His visit offers Washington its first hard look at the 58-year old who is destined to lead the world's most populous nation in the coming decade, when the U.S. and the China are likely to see their economic ties grow even as they are viewed increasingly as military rivals.
"We are not always going to see eye-to-eye. We are not always going to see things exactly the same, but we have very important economic and political concerns that warrant that we work together," Biden said before talks began.
Xi is regarded as more personable than the current Chinese President Hu Jintao. While Xi's his trip is unlikely to herald any policy changes it may signal his leadership style.
In brief comments in response to Biden, a smiling Xi said it was his "great pleasure" to meet the vice president again, following his visit to China last August, and thanked him personally for his part in arranging the reciprocal visit.
Xi said he hoped his trip would build on the progress made by Obama and Hu during a state visit by China's president a year ago, in developing a "cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit." He said he looked forward to having "an in-depth and candid exchange of views."
Hu's trip helped set a positive tone in 2011 for U.S.-China ties, but there have since been bumps along the way. Xi's visit will give the Obama administration a chance to press familiar issues with China, ranging from its worsening treatment of dissidents and the unrest in Tibet, to the vast U.S.-China trade imbalance.
Much of Xi's visit will be in the company of Biden, but he also will meet later Tuesday with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who will be hoping to inject some vigor into halfhearted ties between the two militaries. Washington will need to convince a skeptical Beijing that a U.S. "pivot" in its foreign relations to emphasize the economically booming Asia-Pacific region is not aimed at containing the rise of China. Beijing, in turn, needs to convince the U.S. and many Asian nations not to fear its two-decade military buildup.
In written responses to The Washington Post on the eve of the visit, Xi made a dig at U.S. efforts to strengthen its military alliances in Asia _ expressing what U.S. officials have said are hard-line personal views on China's security, sovereignty, and national dignity.
Also on the agenda of his visit: North Korea, Iran and Syria, following China's decision last week to join Russia in vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad's government over its violent crackdown on opponents.
But with Obama vying for re-election this November, and Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney already accusing the incumbent of being soft on China, the administration will be focused particularly on economic issues.
The primary American concern is likely to be on Chinese trade rule violations, but the U.S. also will reiterate problems with intellectual property theft and the value of China's currency. The renminbi has gained a little against the dollar in the past 1 1/2 years but still is viewed by Washington as undervalued to boost exports that still drive China's economy.
Despite the wide array of issues at hand, U.S. officials see Xi's visit primarily as an investment in relationship-building, both on the personal level and to advance a three-year push for cooperative ties with Asia's emerging superpower.
After his visit to China, Biden said he was impressed by Xi's "openness and candor." Xi has impeccable Communist Party credentials as the son of a famed revolutionary, but is viewed as more able at making personal connections than Hu and more willing to step away from the traditional aloofness of Chinese high office.
Emphasizing that, after two days in Washington Xi will travel to Iowa, where he will meet those who hosted him when he visited the Midwestern state as a county official on a 1985 study tour. He then travels to Los Angeles, California, to meet more business leaders.
Hu visited the U.S. in 2002, also shortly before he became China's leader, succeeding the more charismatic Jiang Zemin. As with Hu, the visit will give Xi a chance to burnish his credentials and show the audience back home he can manage ties with the U.S.
The intervening decade since Hu's formative visit has seen big changes, with China now eclipsing Japan as the world's second-largest economy and its military now posing a serious challenge to U.S. predominance in the West Pacific.


Updated : 2021-10-17 03:23 GMT+08:00