Hu Is Formally Welcomed to U.S. as Chinese Leader Begins Talks With Obama
By Roger Runningen and Michael Forsythe - Jan 19, 2011 9:41 AM ET
Chinese President Hu Jintao was formally welcomed to the White House for his first state visit to the U.S., which will include a rare press conference, a meeting with company executives, and a black-tie dinner.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greeted Hu on the South Lawn of the executive mansion for the ceremony. A color guard stood at attention as the two leaders met before Cabinet members, lawmakers and U.S. and foreign diplomats.
Obama said in his remarks that since the normalization of the U.S.-China relationship in 1979 brought increasing cooperation between the two nations.
“The previous 30 years have been a time of estrangement for our two countries, the 30 years since have been a time of growing engagement,” Obama said. “With this visit we can lay the foundation for the next 30 years.”
The U.S. and China “have an enormous stake in each other’s success,” he said.
Hu said U.S. and China “share broad common interests.”
“Our cooperation as partners should be based on mutual respect,” he said. “China and the United States should respect each other’s development path.”
The visit is focused on economic ties between the two countries, including more than $400 billion in annual trade, as well as differences over human rights, China’s enforcement of intellectual property rights and what U.S. officials say is the artificially low value of the yuan.
Obama raised one of the contentious issues in his remarks, saying that “nations are more successful, the world is more just when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.”
After this morning’s welcome ceremony, Hu and Obama will meet in the Oval Office before a larger meeting between officials from the two countries in the Cabinet Room. Hu will then attend a lunch at the Department of State. Obama will host a formal state dinner in Hu’s honor at the White House this evening.
Later this afternoon, Chief Executive Officers Steve Ballmer of Microsoft Corp. and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will be joined by General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Jim McNerney of Boeing Co. and 10 other U.S. business leaders brought together by the Obama administration for a session with Hu aimed at expanding U.S. business interests in China, the world’s second-largest economy.
Executives at Meeting
Also invited to the meeting were Westinghouse Electric Corp. CEO Aris Candris; former Sybase Inc. chief executive John Chen; Coca-Cola Co. chief executive Muhtar Kent; DuPont Co. CEO Ellen J. Kullman; Greg Page, CEO of Cargill Inc.; John Thornton, chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc’s North American division; David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of Carlyle Group; Paul Otellini, Intel Corp. CEO; and Dow Chemical Co. CEO Andrew Liveris.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the session will highlight the “important economic relationship” between the two countries and the role U.S. exporters play in creating jobs.
“You’ll see important commercial relationships that our CEOs have and want to expand in China that the president believes is important to make a forceful case in front of both the CEOs from China as well as President Hu,” Gibbs told reporters yesterday.
Chinese executives attending the meeting are Lu Guanqiu, chairman of Hangzhou-based Wanxiang Group Along; Lenovo Group Ltd. chairman Liu Chuanzhi; Lou Jiwei, chairman of the China Investment Corp.; and Haier Group Corp. chief executive Zhang Ruimin.
“People in the U.S. welcome us,” Lu said in an interview. “We’re solving their employment problems.”
Hu Is Formally Welcomed to U.S. as Chinese Leader Begins Talks With Obama - Bloomberg