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Hu tells state's elite that cooperation can improve US-China relations
Seattle Times business reporter
Wrapping up his two-day visit to Seattle today, Chinese President Hu Jintao gave a sweeping policy address that contained no surprises, but laid out firm positions on issues from currency to energy, emphasizing "win-win outcomes" in spite of trade frictions.
He found a receptive audience among the 600 Washington business and government leaders who turned out for the luncheon at the Future of Flight museum. They gave him standing ovations before and after the speech.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who introduced Hu, said he was honored by the president's visit to Seattle.
"Although you've only been here one day, I hope you've felt the strong sense of friendship and our commitment to partnership and cooperation," Gates said.
Hu called the Northwest a good example of overall China-US business cooperation. Globalization, hastened by information technology, has made the world more interdependent, he said.
As a result, "we must be global in view and outlook, give a high priority to exchanges and cooperation, draw on each other's experience, and seek mutual benefits, win-win outcomes and common development," Hu said.
In a signal to that he would not yield to pressure from Washington D.C. on the trade deficit, Hu told the audience that "trade issues should not be politicized."
While China takes the trade gap with the United States seriously, he said, at least 90 percent of imports to this country from China are goods no longer produced in the United States.
Hu did not take questions from the media, and answered only two written questions from the audience. He gave only a small nod toward political reform, saying that in the next 15 years, "China will further develop its economy, improve democracy, advance science and education, enrich culture, foster social harmony and make life better for its people."
Former Governor Gary Locke, who served as master of ceremonies for the event, said he hoped Hu would return.
"This is the Washington most worth visiting and most reflective of the positive possibilities between our two countries," Locke said. "We are here today because we share a vision of a mutually beneficial relationship between China and America."
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company