A 21-gun salute and an honour guard greeted China’s president before he went in to a state dinner at the White House with the Obamas. This was the climax of a day of talks on security and trade that appears to have yielded little in the way of results.
Both leaders spoke warmly about cooperation, but the news conference had some awkward moments when any real meaning appeared lost in translation. At least, that is what Hu Jintao pleaded, avoiding answering questions on China’s currency or human rights before conceding on the latter issue that China had much to do.
While Obama was more assertive than during his trip to China, observers felt this was more for domestic consumption, mindful that Hu visits Congress today. 84 members signed a letter to Obama yesterday urging him to tell China that America’s patience was “near an end” on trade and currency issues. Figures just released show China had another bumper year in 2010, with GDP growth beating expectations at close to 10 percent in Q4, and inflation easing.
While all in the White House was smiles and good cheer, the sounds of protest could be heard from several streets away, as Tibetans and their supporters kept up their pressure on Hu.
Hu charms White House but faces tougher Congress