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U.S. to fete Chinese president ahead of talks

BEIJING - Chinese leader Hu Jintao is being feted in Washington this week with a lavish state banquet at the White House and other pomp usually reserved for close friends and allies - all intended to improve the tone of relations between a risen, more assertive and prosperous China and the U.S. superpower in a tenuous economic recovery.

The shaky trust between the United States and China has been eroding recently because of an array of issues - currency policies and trade barriers, nuclear proliferation and North Korea, and both sides seem to recognize the need to recalibrate relations.

Hu sounded a conciliatory tone in a rare interview with U.S. newspapers ahead of his visit, saying the two countries could mutually benefit by finding "common ground" on issues ranging from combating terrorism and nuclear proliferation to clean energy and infrastructure initiatives.

"There is no denying that there are some differences and sensitive issues between us," Hu said. He called for more dialogues and exchanges to enhance "practical cooperation," stressing the need to "abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality" in U.S.-China relations. - AP

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