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China plays up 'new chapter'

world Updated: Jan 21, 2011 01:10 IST
Reshma Patil

The state-run Chinese media recorded the White House state visit of President Hu Jintao as a successful summit of equals, and buried testy moments questioning Beijing's human rights record.

Thursday's front page of the China Daily declared open a 'new chapter in relations'. The national broadcaster firmly kept its focus on the 45 billion-dollar bilateral deals including Chinese orders for 200 Boeing planes. A Chinese strategist on television summed up Sino-US ties as 'two elephants in the global zoo'. "World watches as giants meet,'' headlined the Global Times earlier this week.

"The visit drastically improved the atmosphere of bilateral relations, which is important in last year's context. At the same time, all major points of disagreement are still there. Concrete reduction of strategic suspicion is still a challenge,'' Shi Yinhong who heads the Centre on American Relations at Renmin University told HT.

The Sino-US joint statement included a rare Chinese acknowledgement of 'concern' over North Korea's uranium enrichment programme. But as Shi said, 'the enormous gap between the two governments on North Korea's nuclear programme has reduced but it's still there'.

The pomp and rhetoric did little to resolve acrimony between Beijing and Washington over 'US interference' in the South China Sea, US policies on Taiwan, the Dalai Lama, currency and trade differences.

BBC and CNN screens were reportedly blacked out during broadcasts referring to human rights and protests outside the White House. The official news agency Xinhua carried a brief report quoting Hu saying that China is committed to protecting human rights.