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Hu Jintao arrives in U.S. to considerable fanfare

by Adam Russett on January 19, 2011

As two of the biggest powers in the world, China and the United States are often at odds with each other. However, President Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao will attempt to put their economic and diplomatic differences aside during Hu's four-day visit to the states. China's president received a regal welcoming on Tuesday, and attended the first of two dinners. The visit is intended to improve relations between the two countries, NBC News reports.

Much of the tension comes from the fact that China boasts the world's most powerful economy, with a currency reserve estimated at around $2.85 billion. They are also the holders of much of the United States' debt, and some blame China for the high unemployment rate in the U.S.

The U.S. has also been critical of China due to their stance on human rights, particularly with regards to Taiwan and Tibet. The two superpowers have butted heads over the issue in recent years, with the U.S. selling arms to Taiwan as well as inviting Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to the White House. Still, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is optimistic that the two sides can find common ground that will benefit both nations.

"We don't want a zero-sum relationship," she told NBC's Today Show. "We want to look for as many win-win opportunities as we can because this relationship is going to in many ways determine the peace, stability and prosperity of the 21st century."

With such an important diplomatic visit, the Obama administration has pulled out all the stops for Hu. Along with the two state dinners, the meetings will be met with a 21-gun salute, and the two world leaders will be hosting a press conference on Wednesday. The visit also coincides with a meeting between Chinese and American businessmen that Obama and Hu are expected to attend.  

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