Hu Patronizing US Nuke Summit and RMB

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/02/2010 08:30:00 AM
Unbeknownst to many, the US has just sent a bipartisan delegation to China in search of better ties. Quarrels over Tibet, Google, Taiwan weapon sales, and the renminbi are great and entertaining and all, but at the end of the day, appeasing your largest creditor makes sense. From our favourite official news agency, Xinhua:
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Thursday urged to remove "disturbance" in the China-U.S. relationship to promote long-term, healthy and stable bilateral ties. Xi made the remarks while meeting with a U.S. bipartisan delegation led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Williamson [during the Bush 41 administration].

The governments, parties and politicians of both China and the United States should "learn from history, cherish current opportunities, march with the times and take a broad view of bilateral ties," Xi said. Xi said he hoped the two sides will overcome difficulties and remove disturbances to improve bilateral ties for the benefit of the two nations and the world.

The 18-member U.S. delegation is in Beijing to attend the first high-level dialogue with the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was held on Wednesday. It is also the first time the two U.S. political parties have sent a bipartisan delegation to China. Xi, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, spoke highly of the inter-party dialogue, saying the party exchanges will help boost understanding and trust and promote a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship in the 21st century.

Xi's remarks came amid a thaw in the China-U.S. ties, which was strained by a U.S. arms sale plan to Taiwan in January and President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama in February.
Further signs of a thawing in relations comes via Premier Hu Jintao accepting Obama's invitation to attend a nuclear conference just a few days before the biannual Treasury report on the currency practices of US trade partners. As the FT suggests, it is thus likely that this invitation signals a fairly low chance of China being declared a currency manipulator just two days or so later. Also note that Hu is going on a South American jaunt in support of Chinese interests that may not be quite as welcome to US ones:
Qin Gang, foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters on Thursday that Mr Hu would participate in the summit on his way to visit Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. The nuclear summit would mainly discuss nuclear terrorism and potential countermeasures, said Mr Qin...

Apart from being a foreign policy success for Mr Obama, the decision also makes it less likely that the US will step up pressure on China to liberalise its exchange rate by labelling it a currency manipulator. Some prominent figures in Congress are pushing the White House to make an official designation in its twice-yearly currency report, due by April 15. But the timing of the nuclear summit, on April 12-13, makes such a diplomatically risky move less likely.
Bottom line: much as doing otherwise would alleviate my boredom, I expect Treasury to do nothing about the Chinese yuan (again). There may be some token gestures towards being more vigilant about the matter, but in the end, we all know who floats America's boat nowadays.

UPDATE: Ditto for the WSJ on the symbolism behind Hu's visit.