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Obama, Hu avoid contentious issues

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 02:38 IST
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US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao tried to avoid airing their disagreements over the dollar’s health and China’s holdings of $ 1-trillion US debt, each other’s recovery plans and other possible irritants. They, instead, stuck to the areas where they agree.

Hu and Obama vowed at the Group of 20 Summit to work together to renew global growth. “In the absence of any concrete things to announce, the second best thing is that you look like you get on well with each other,” said Mark Williams, Asia economist for Capital Economics in London.

Obama, however, handed Hu a diplomatic victory when he agreed to give China and other developing countries “an appropriate role” in the International Monetary Fund.

Among the areas they avoided was Beijing’s unease about its $ 1-trillion US government debt holdings and its proposal last month for a global currency to replace the dollar.

Beijing is uneasy that the value of its holdings may erode if Washington’s heavy spending fuel inflation and weaken the dollar. However, Niu Jun, a Peking University international relations specialist, said, “The disagreements between China and the US are not predominant in relations. They are only noises which sometimes become loud.”