Before landing in Washington, DC, the lions’ den where he will hardly see a (truly) friendly face, Hu Jintao will land in Washington State, home of Microsoft and Boeing. This other Washington will give the Chinese president considerably more amicable surroundings in which to launch his "We come in peace" campaign. This from the Seattle Times:
"This Washington is an alternative vision of what the US-China
relationship can be," said David Bachman, a professor and China
specialist at the University of Washington. "Here we have a state
establishment that is almost 100 percent behind encouraging engagement,
and a perception that things are moving well on both sides."
In D.C., by contrast, "the whole view is the relationship is negative," Bachman said.
Too true. Hu’s 26-hour tour of Seattle includes a dinner hosted by the governor at the home of Bill Gates, for which sponsorships have been sold at $20,000 a piece. Before dinner, Hu will have a tour of the Microsoft campus, and the following morning, a tour of the Boeing facilities. At lunch Wednesday he is to give a "major policy address."
All this as a warm-up to meeting with the tough guys in THE Washington, the one where Hu will be faced with some hard questions from politicians looking to score a few election-year points on a big, easy target. Expect Hu to calmly agree with certain outraged senators that something must be done about the current trade imbalance. But don’t expect him to cower in fear. After all, he still has a few hundred billion trump cards up his sleeve, in the form of US Treasury notes.