President Barack Obama quipped that Chinese President Hu Jintao was brave for going to his hometown at this time of year. But what about the visit to Capitol Hill today?
Between the warm reception at the White House and the chilly weather in Chicago, Hu met lawmakers who were quite cool in their welcome. They brought up China’s currency, human rights, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner who wasn’t allowed to attend the ceremony, Tibet, the economy and trade.
“The U.S. and China do not share values and principles as some have claimed in recent days,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry summed up the uneasiness that still accompanies the U.S.-China relationship: “It’s critical that leaders in both countries don’t allow mutual suspicions to degenerate into fear-mongering and demagoguery.”
Vice President Joe Biden, caught in the hallway by our senior congressional correspondent Tom Ferraro, told Reuters the Chinese understood they needed to work on the currency dispute. “They indicate that they understand that — that they have to work on it,” he said.