Chinese leader faces mixed reception in the U.S.

Rob Schmitz Feb 14, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: The man who is in line to become China’s next president, Xi Jinping, will meet today with President Obama. The president may well bring up prickly issues like trade disputes and China’s undervalued currency. But when Mr. Xi leaves Washington and heads out to places like Iowa and California, he’s likely to be having a very different conversation.

Marketplace’s China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports.

Rob Schmitz: The last Chinese leader to visit Washington was Hu Jintao, last year. Members of Congress boycotted the state dinner. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called him a “dictator.” Then Hu went to Chicago, where the mayor called him “a man of vision.”

Expect the same extremes during Xi Jinping’s visit, says Robert Kapp, former president of the U.S.-China Business Council.

Robert Kapp: Xi Jinping’s going to get a sense of the depth and variety of the country and of the enthusiasm toward China, which is there, along with the fear and the uneasiness.

After Vice President Xi visits D.C., he heads to Iowa and Los Angeles. Both Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have traveled to China in the past six months, and both are looking for more Chinese investment.

So, just days after Xi fields concerns from congressmen about China’s WTO violations, the mayor of Los Angeles is expected to ask for Chinese investment in California’s planned high-speed rail.
In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

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