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Posted at 1:12 PM ET, 01/13/2011

White House seeks to avoid 2006 mistakes in upcoming state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao

By Ariana Eunjung Cha


(Photo Credit: By Susan Biddle/The Washington Post)

Washington is abuzz with preparations for the state visit next week by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

This isn't Hu's first time to the White House. Hu visited President George W. Bush in 2006, but it was deemed an "official visit," a less prestigious tag. The slight was not taken well by the Chinese at a time of tensions over trade, human rights and the status of Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a breakaway part of the mainland. The visit was further marred when a Falun Gong protester broke through the security cordon to heckle Hu during his speech, and an interpreter announced the Chinese national anthem as that of the "Republic of China," the official name of Taiwan.

The difficulties in the bilateral relationship were prominent parts of the public remarks by both heads of state. Bush said that "as the relationship between our two nations grows and matures we can be candid about our disagreements," while Hu dedicated a significant portion of his speech to Taiwan.

The last time the White House hosted a state visit by China was in 1997, when President Bill Clinton welcomed Jiang Zemin. It was the first high-level summit after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

This time around, the Obama administration is determined to fete Hu and his delegation in the same way they hosted their counterparts from U.S. allies Mexico and India earlier. Hu will be honored at a black-tie state dinner -- a symbolic victory for the Chinese leader who since his last visit has increased his country's prominence in global efforts ranging from discussions about how to stem the economic crisis to clean-energy innovation.

While details about Hu's visit have been hush-hush, it will be short, from Jan. 18-21.

Here's a tentative schedule:

Jan. 18
Hu will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base and stay at the Blair House. He'll have a private dinner with President Obama.

Jan. 19
He'll be greeted with a formal arrival ceremony on the South Lawn with honor guards and the traditional 21-gun salute. There will then be a series of meetings between the two presidents and their aides, followed by a news conference by Obama and Hu.

He'll have lunch at the State Department and tour the new Chinese embassy complex.

In the evening, the president and first lady Michelle Obama will host a dinner that will include government officials from both countries as well as Chinese Americans, corporate executives and others with ties to China. (In case you're curious, the menu and guest list are usually kept a secret until the day of the event, but Jiang's menu included "chilled lobster with Corn Leek Relish," "pepper crusted Oregon beef," "salad of mache, endive and arugula" and a "mandarin tea tartlet." More about the menu from The Post's Food Section blog.)

Jan. 20
Hu will visit Capitol Hill to meet with leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties. He will then speak at a luncheon hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the U.S.-China Business Council. Later that day, Hu is expected to arrive in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported, quoting city officials. The visit will include a dinner and a visit to a local high school.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | January 13, 2011; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  China, White House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Economic agenda: Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
Next: Ahead of Chinese president's visit, U.S. and China trade criticism on economic issues


What not to do?

Do not talk about Elections! Mis-pronunciation is likely!

Do not laugh like "Ho, Ho!"

And the Fu Mein Chu ("all men eat but Few Men Chew") joke is strictly off-limit!

Then there is the left hand. Keep it in the pocket all the time!

Posted by: kishorgala | January 13, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Are we okay with them being "Communists?"

I see, cheap is cheap, regardless of the political system.

Posted by: kishorgala | January 13, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't bow to him you doofus.

Posted by: englundc | January 13, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

President Hu has steadily steered China down the right path. Much work remains to be done, however, and China is only in the early stages of its development, and there are many more problems to be solved, and many more reforms and breakthroughs to be undertaken. Keep on keeping on.

Posted by: autobotalex | January 18, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

An even closer relationship between China and the USA could become the perfect symbiosis. The focus of international trade has already shifted markedly from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It could mean the decline of the old colonial powers of Europe.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

An even closer relationship between China and the USA could become the perfect symbiosis. The focus of international trade has already shifted markedly from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It could mean the decline of the old colonial powers of Europe.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | January 18, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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