When George Bush visits China this weekend, he and his counterpart, Hu Jintao, will stress their common ground. But the two countries continue nervously to appraise each other’s intentions
HU JINTAO, China’s president, has a favourite phrase these days: “harmonious world”, in which countries of different outlooks live together in peace. Mr Hu first unveiled this idea, more Lennon than Lenin, in a speech at the United Nations (UN) on September 15th. During recent visits to Asia and Europe, his official talks have been peppered with it. And President George Bush will doubtless hear it too during his first trip to China since Mr Hu took office, which begins on Saturday November 19th.
Mr Hu does not say so himself, but the Chinese media have made it clear that “harmonious world” is, in part, a rebuff to American “hegemonism”. Countries with different political backgrounds should be listened to and shown respect, the argument goes. Everyone should interact “democratically” through the UN. The implication is that China, as an emerging power at odds with American ideology, would be a beneficiary of a world order in which American power was constrained.