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23 March 2017 06:13 (South Africa)

Obama, Hu at least make ‘nice’ for the cameras

After six hours of meetings, two dinners and a 30-minute news conference where Chinese Premier Jintao Hu did not permit questions, analysts say US President Barack Obama has come face-to-face with a resurgent, fast-rising China prepared to say no to the US. On Iran, Hu did not discuss sanctions publicly; on China’s currency, Hu did not budge on revaluing it; and on human rights, the outcome was a joint statement agreeing to disagree - as in the two nations “have differences”. Press opinion is that Chinese management of Obama’s appearances showed off 5,000 years of Chinese experience in dealing with visiting foreigners rather more than it allowed Obama to make untrammelled use of his charisma to connect directly with the Chinese population in live appearances, on TV or even via the Internet to advance US interests. For example, Cornell University’s China specialist, Eswar Prasad, said China shifted public discussion “to the dangers of loose monetary policy and protectionist tendencies in the US”. However, administration sources say Obama got what he wanted, including a five-point joint statement pledging to work together on a variety of issues, among them joint efforts to tackle climate change and nuclear disarmament. For more, read the AP, New York Times

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