China’s Vice President Xi Jinping speaks to the US-China Business Council in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON (AP) — For Americans looking at the U.S. visit of China’s likely future leader for a clue about where relations between the two nations might be headed, the signal has been clear: No change in substance, but perhaps a change in style.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping toed the line set by the man he is to succeed as Communist Party chief in the fall, Hu Jintao, who made a grand U.S. state visit a year ago.
Xi, who is expected to become president in 2013, made clear that China wants a deeper relationship with the United States and even welcomes its engagement in the Asia-Pacific, as long as it respects China’s interests and concerns in its own neighborhood.
“It was a scripted trip without surprises,” said Jeff Bader, East Asia policy director during the first two years of the Obama administration. “He obviously wasn’t here to make policy, or make decisions or alter positions on issues. He is not the No. 1 yet and he doesn’t want to prejudice his chances of being No. 1.”
But while Xi, 58, has said little new — and did little to narrow the gaping differences that exist between the U.S. and China on issues such as human rights — he made a conscious Login to read more