President Bush has extended a warm welcome to China’s President Hu Jintao. The meeting between the two leaders is being seen as the highlight of Hu’s first official visit to the US. But for one observer it was an opportunity not to be missed. After trying to disrupt President Hu’s speech, a woman, protesting against the treatment of the Falun Gong religious sect in China was eventually escorted from the White House lawns.
Carrying on with his speech, President Hu claimed that both the US and China share a strategic interest in global security and vowed to help resolve disputes over nuclear programmes. In response, President Bush said he hoped that the question of Taiwan’s independence could be resolved peacefully. Security issues aside, top of the agenda was trade. The get-together is likely to mark a pivotal point in Chinese US relations.Analysts are asking whether the protectionists in Washington will win the day and force China to curb its exports or if they have to hold back and allow free trade. While the two leaders began their working meeting, human rights protesters staged a large rally outside the White house. Demonstrators are expected to dog the Chinese leader’s heels during the visit as they protest over China’s record on political and religious freedoms.