China looking for common ground with US: President Hu

Posted By: Ani
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Beijing, Jan.17 (ANI): China will seek to find common ground with the United States in a bid to resolve existing bilateral disputes, said President Hu Jintao ahead of his visit to Washington scheduled for later this week.

"There is no denying that there are some differences and sensitive issues between us. We both stand to gain from a sound China-U.S. relationship, and lose from confrontation," Hu wrote in reply to questions forwarded to him by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Hu said that "practical cooperation" on a wide range of issues between the two countries is only possible through an increase in dialogues and exchanges and more "mutual trust."

He said, "We should abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality" and, in what seemed like an implicit rejection of U.S. criticisms of China's internal affairs, he said the two should "respect each other's choice of development path."

Taking aim at the international currency system, now dominated by the dollar, Hu called it a "product of the past."

China has moved to make its currency, the renminbi, or RMB, convertible on international markets, and Hu pointed to Chinese efforts to boost its use in trade and investment.

But he cautioned against any suggestion that the renminbi, also called the yuan, might soon become a new reserve currency.

"It takes a long time for a country's currency to be widely accepted in the world," Hu said.

Hu, the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party since 2002 and China's president since 2003, rarely speaks in interviews or gives press conferences.

His last extensive comments to American media outlets came in 2008, in a joint meeting around the time of the Beijing Olympics.

His last interview with Western media was in written format last November to a French and a Portuguese newspaper.

Under the ground rules, Hu decided which questions to answer from lists submitted separately by the Post and the Journal.

Hu made an official visit to the White House in 2006, but President George W. Bush denied him the privilege of a full state visit, offering only a lunch.

He was in Washington in April for President Obama's nuclear security summit.

The Obama administration plans to use the summit to refocus attention on China's record on human rights and political freedoms, after spending much of the past two years seeking to engage the Chinese leadership on a broad array of global issues like climate change, helping stabilize the global economy and dealing with the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. (ANI)

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