Warm words and thorny topics have marked the start of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s four day state visit to the US.
He and his host Barack Obama put a positive spin on strains in bilateral relations in areas such as trade and security.
“Cooperation between China and the United States is beneficial for both our countries,” Hu told a White House news conference. “Our relations must continue to go forward in the right direction, respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Asked about human rights, Hu did not respond at first, blaming translation and technical problems. He then conceded that “a lot still needs to be done” in China while insisting that progress has been made.
“I have been very candid with President Hu about these issues,” Obama told reporters. “Occasionally there are tensions between our two governments. But we can engage and discuss these issues in a candid and frank way.”
In a day marked by pomp and ceremony, the countries unveiled 33 billion euros worth of export deals, seemingly aimed at papering over rifts on trade and security. However these are spread over several years, and it is unclear just how much of the impressive figure is new business.