U.S. ambassador says President Hu’s state visit “historic”

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman on Wednesday said Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington later this month will be “exciting and historic.”

“State visit is the highest level of welcome that is accorded to a foreign head of state. Hu’s state visit is a very exiting and historic time in U.S.-China relationship,” Huntsman told a press briefing on Wednesday.

Hu will pay a state visit to the United States from Jan.18 to 21 at the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Presidents Hu and Obama during a 2010 state visit

“It is the first time that the two heads of state meet when they represent the two largest economies…Their influence is derived from the world, not form a region,” Huntsman said.

The ambassador said it was noteworthy that over the years Obama and Hu had met 7 times and developed a “friendly, cordial and confident” relationship.

He hailed efforts on both sides to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship, citing the high-level meetings like Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade as well as some cabinet-level visits like Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ just concluded trip to Beijing.

In a relationship that is as mature, direct and candid as U.S.-China relationship, there will inevitably be some areas of disagreements, Huntsman said.

“Divergences are largely outweighed by areas of convergences,” he said.

Ambassador said the United States and China would increasingly find common ground.

“As both countries are on the world stage, they will see a similar level of responsibility in terms of problems and deal realistically with the issues that confront the world, ranging from Iran nuclear issues and Korean Peninsula tensions to economic rebalance and climate change,” Huntsman said.

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