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Chinese Leader Wraps Up US Visit

VOA News 21 January 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited students and business leaders in the central U.S. city of Chicago Friday, wrapping up a four-day visit to the United States in which he also faced questions about sensitive issues, including human rights.

Mr. Hu visited a Chicago high school Friday that offers Chinese language and cultural instruction, telling students there that knowledge is the key to the future. Afterward, he met with business leaders at a Chinese-owned auto parts plant.

On Thursday, after arriving in Chicago from Washington, the Chinese leader met with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who is working to attract Chinese-based businesses to the area.

Expanding economic ties with the U.S. was a major theme of President Hu's visit.

U.S. President Barack Obama told workers at a General Electric plant in New York Friday that trade with China should be a two-way -- not one-way -- arrangement.

In addition to new trade deals, Mr. Obama and Mr. Hu discussed other pressing issues, including North Korea and human rights. At a news conference with Mr. Obama on Wednesday, Mr. Hu conceded that China has "a lot" to do to improve human rights.

President Hu also met with members of the U.S. Congress while in Washington.

U.S. lawmakers have been critical of China's human rights record and are also angry about China's currency and economic policies, which many believe are taking away American manufacturing jobs. Legislation has been introduced in Congress calling for tariffs on Chinese imports if Beijing continues to keep the value of its currency artificially low.

Mr. Hu's welcome in the United States included a state dinner at the White House Wednesday that several lawmakers refused to attend.

President Hu met with leaders of the U.S. House and Senate on Thursday and also spoke to U.S. business executives in Washington.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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