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Chinese Carrots for Obama, US Sticks for Hu

( Collated from news agency reports )


The apparent highlight was the announcement of a raft of successful trade deals worth billions of dollars.

“We will be announcing that $45 billion of US export deals have been concluded, supporting 235,000 US jobs,” AFP quoted a senior US official as saying, adding that the total includes a massive $19 billion contract for 200 Boeing aircraft.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), US and Chinese energy companies announced a variety of partnerships at a conference organized by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.

Alcoa and China Power Investment Corp said they would collaborate on a broad range of aluminum and energy projects, both inside and outside China, totaling $7.5 billion in investments, the newspaper reported.

Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa’s CEO, told the WSJ that the Hu-Obama summit had brought the deal home.

“Had the date not been set for the state visit, (the agreement) wouldn’t have happened in a speedy fashion,” Kleinfeld said.

General Electric (GE) Energy announced a joint venture with Shenhua Group Corp to sell clean-coal technologies.

The two countries will also begin preparing for a jointly financed nuclear security center in China that aims to improve training and security at nuclear sites and to help keep better track of nuclear materials, Reuters reported.

US STICKS FOR HU JINTAO (From Western agency reports that were not carried by Chinese media)

Hundreds of Chinese and Tibetan protesters loudly demonstrated outside the White House  as  Hu  began his state visit to the US. The protesters held up banners urging  Obama to “admonish Hu” over human rights abuses and the conflict over Tibet.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who shared a private meal with Hu and Obama on Tuesday (January 17) night, said on Wednesday that it was so far unclear whether China was a US friend or foe. “The reason we’re rolling out the red carpet” for the Chinese leader “is we think we’ll be better (able) to answer such a question as we move forward,” Clinton told ABC television when asked whether China is a friend or foe. “My hope is we have a normal relationship,” she said.

At a frank press conference, there were few concrete signs the leaders had narrowed gaps on currency, access to markets or strategic issues, despite an earlier announcement of tens of billions of dollars in US export deals. Both sides promised to seek further cooperation on the world’s most pressing issues despite their differences, and Obama welcomed China’s rise as a key power and looked forward to an era of “friendly competition.” The President also candidly laid out US differences with China, demanding a level playing field for US firms, said the yuan currency was “undervalued” and encouraged dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives over Tibet. Obama, under pressure because his successor as Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is in a Chinese jail, acknowledged that China had a different political system than America, but said he would not shirk from raising rights issues. “We have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly – that we think are very important and that transcend cultures,” he said. “I have been very candid with President Hu about these issues.”

In a sign of the political sensitivity of Hu’s visit, top members of Congress, including John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, declined invitations to attend the State dinner for Hu.Democratic US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid branded Hu a “dictator” then withdrew the remark. (20-1-11)

( The writer Mr B Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

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