President Obama held a press conference today welcoming the soon-to-be new leader of China's Communist Party, Xi Jinping, to the White House. Despite signs of tension between the U.S. and China, the President apparently greeted Jinping with a great deal of warmth. The Los Angeles Times explains:
In a joint appearance before their meeting, Obama told reporters that the U.S. relationship with China is based on "mutual interest and mutual respect," and that such a relationship is in the interests of the rest of the world, too.
The United States welcomes China's "peaceful rise," Obama said, which he said has the power to "help to bring stability and prosperity to the world."
Xi said that he and Vice President Joe Biden had reached a "new consensus" during their talks, though he didn't say what that was, and that his goal is to "move forward the U.S.-China relationship."
CBS News has video of the president's remarks:
Once they've dispensed with the pleasantries, however, what will this sort of chumminess mean in practical terms? Some might argue that President Obama's welcome is a little too warm, and possibly even motivated by admiration for a kindred spirit -- especially given passages like this from a BBC profile of the incoming Chinese President:
He has convinced businessmen he is their champion, while overseeing a system where the state controls huge chunks of the economy. [...]
He is a man who can appeal to almost everyone, but who seems to have alienated almost no-one in his rise through the ranks. He appears confident and open while giving away little.
He is a consensus candidate, a compromise who the factions in the communist hierarchy can unite behind - a figure China's disparate people, from its wealthy to its poor, its party members to its private businessmen, can all accept.