The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal jointly submitted questions in writing to President Hu JIntao, which he responded to in writing:
China stated it is committed to peaceful development. But in the past year, China has become more assertive. Do you think this will affect China’s relations with the United States and neighbors in Asia?
HU: To follow the path of peaceful development is a solemn commitment of the Chinese government and people to the international community. It is a policy that we will always adhere to. Specifically, it means that we will achieve national development by our hard and creative work, by reforming and improving our institutions, and by maintaining friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries.
China has been committed to the independent foreign policy of peace and has developed friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We stand for equality and mutual respect between countries. Like other countries in the world, China must uphold its own sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests. At the same time, we are willing to properly handle differences and disagreements in state-to-state relations in accordance with the basic norms governing international relations and the principle of mutual understanding, mutual accommodation, dialogue and consultation.
Over the years, relations between China and other Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States and our Asian neighbors, have grown steadily, and together we have contributed to development in the Asia-Pacific region. Mutual trust between China and other countries in this region has deepened in our common response to tough challenges, and our cooperation has continuously expanded in our pursuit of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. At present, relations between China and other Asia-Pacific countries face unprecedented opportunities. China is ready to work with other countries to seize opportunities, meet challenges and promote peace and development in the region and beyond.
And from the write-up in the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Hu acknowledged “some differences and sensitive issues between us,” but his tone was generally compromising, and he avoided specific mention of some of the controversial issues that have dogged relations with the U.S. over the past year or so—including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan that led to a freeze in military relations between the world’s sole superpower and its rising Asian rival.
On the economic front, Mr. Hu played down one of the main U.S. arguments for why China should appreciate its currency—that it will help China tame inflation. That is likely to disappoint Washington, which accuses China of unfairly boosting its exports by undervaluing the yuan, making its products cheaper overseas. The topic is expected to be high on U.S. President Barack Obama’s agenda when he meets Mr. Hu at the White House on Wednesday.