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Chinese leader visits US amid increasing tensions
Chinese President Hu Jintao is due to arrive in Washington on Tuesday for a four-day state visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations. Hu will begin the trip with a private dinner in the White House residence hosted by US President Barak Obama attended by only a few senior officials from each side.
On Wednesday, he will receive the red-carpet treatment with a 21-gun salute that former president George W Bush reserved for leaders of democracies. Hu will then attend talks in the Oval Office and a state dinner before heading to Chigaco for talks with business leaders.
The Chinese leader's visit comes aimed tension in Sino-US relations. Over the past year the two sides have been divided on the value of the yuan, the yawning trade gap, human rights, US arms sales to Taiwan and maritime rivalaries in the Pacific.
In a rare interview with the foreign media, Hu told the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal that there were "differences and sensitive issues" between the US and China, but said cooperation would serve both sides.
"We both stand to gain from a sound China-US relationship and lose from confrontation," he said.
A series of deals are expected to be signed during the visit including the sale of Boeing aircraft to China and possibly Chinese help in developing a high-speed rail network. Other deals would focus on bilateral trade, energy, environmental protection, infractructure building and cultural exchanges.
China's Xinhua news agency reports that Chinese and US businesses on Monday signed deals worth 600 million euros in the southern state of Texas.