Washington set to welcome Hu in grand style

Washington’s reception for President Hu Jintao’s upcoming state visit is under careful preparation, including a morning rehearsal on the South Lawn of the White House, a gesture seen as rare.

The United States will roll out the full set of ceremonial performances in honor of Hu’s arrival on Jan 18, according to China News Service.

In a phone conversation on Saturday, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon discussed preparations for the Chinese leader’s four-day visit.

After a meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington, Hu is scheduled to visit the Midwestern city of Chicago.

“We will show him how China has invested in our city, both in jobs and economic development,” said Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago. “The investment of China helps us tremendously in job creation and keeping jobs,” he told Xinhua in an interview.

“It’s a nonsense that China has taken everything now they are investing in our country, that’s (what) we have to show,” said Daley, 69, who has served as Chicago’s mayor for 22 years.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on Sino-US relations over the weekend in Washington, affirming the positive outlook for bilateral ties, as well as pointing out Washington’s concerns.

Clinton said now is a critical time in which choices made by the two nations “will shape the trajectory of this relationship”.

In her speech, Clinton acknowledged both “early successes” and “frustrations” in Sino-US cooperation over the past two years.

Clinton dismissed both the “China threat” and “US containment” concepts, saying her government “reject those views”. “In the 21st century, it does not make sense to apply zero-sum 19th century theories of how major powers interact,” she added, asking for a “new way of understanding”.

While addressing differences, Clinton said Beijing and Washington have to “avoid unrealistic expectations that can be disappointed while holding firm on our values”.

In the meantime, some former US politicians also called for a constructive attitude toward the visit.

The Washington Post published Henry Kissinger’s article on “avoiding a US-China cold war”, in which the 87-year-old former secretary of state proposed to “create a tradition of respect and cooperation”.

Similarly, in the New York Times, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski compared the importance of Hu’s upcoming visit with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s historic trip some 30 years ago.

Like many other observers, he stressed it is the mutual needs rather than differences that the two sides should focus on.

“Neither side should delude itself that it can avoid the harm caused by increased mutual antagonism; both should understand that a crisis in one country can hurt the other,” the 82-year-old wrote.

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