Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama is looking to assure Americans that they should not fear
On another big American concern, human rights, Hu conceded that "a lot still needs to be done" to improve
The business deals and Hu's human rights comments were among the highlights of a ceremony-packed day seen as key to building trust between the world's top two powers.
Five years after his last visit to the White House, one that was marred by protocol blunders, Hu was feted Wednesday with the full pomp of a state visit, including a lavish dinner with some of
The two sides played down differences and stressed areas of cooperation, ranging from a plan to cooperate on nuclear security to an extension of the loan of two Chinese pandas to
On Thursday, Hu could face a tougher audience when he meets with
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Hu "a dictator" in an interview Wednesday, although he later tried to recant the comment. In the House, several Republican lawmakers assailed the Chinese government's record on human rights, military expansion, financial strategy and weapons sales.
Later Thursday, Hu was to address trade and economic concerns at the U.S.-China Business Council in
Economic ties, long seen as a source of stability in the often rocky U.S.-China relationship, have caused friction in recent years.
Obama bluntly restated that concern Wednesday, saying
But Obama also stressed the importance of the growing economic bonds between the two superpowers and said
He said the newly announced business deals worth $45 billion - which include a highly sought-after $19 billion deal for 200 Boeing airplanes - would help create 235,000 U.S. jobs, in addition to the half-million U.S. jobs already generated by the United States' annual $100 billion in exports to China.
"I absolutely believe
"We just want to make sure that (its) rise occurs in a way that reinforces international norms, international rules, and enhances security and peace, as opposed to it being a source of conflict either in the region or around the world," Obama said.
Standing alongside one another at podiums, against a backdrop of
Obama has faced criticism for granting the state dinner to the Chinese communist leader, whose visit comes just a month after jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama won the prize the previous year.
At the news conference, Obama described the rights of freedom of speech, religion and assembly as "core views" for Americans and said he drove that home forcefully in his discussions with Hu.
Hu responded that human rights should be viewed in the context of different national circumstances but, in an unusual concession for a Chinese leader on the world stage, acknowledged, "A lot still needs to be done in
Rights activists welcomed Hu's comments but said they needed to be backed up by action to ameliorate a host of concerns, including mass detentions without trial in
"It's good to hear him make such an acknowledgment, but they are no more than words until we see serious changes in policy and practice," said Sophie Richardson,
She noted that
And China typically defines human rights in terms of improvements in quality of life such as higher incomes and better living conditions, rather than civil liberties such as freedom of speech that define such values in the West.