If you toddle over to the White House site you can find a fascinating transcript of the “BACKGROUND READOUT BY SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICALS ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MEETING WITH PRESIDENT HU JINTAO of CHINA.”
It’s a pretty comprehensive run through by “a senior administration official” of what the two men talked about in the hour long (though given translation that probably 35 to 40 minutes if it was in the same language) meeting. These meetings are always heavily scripted, especially on the Chinese side . (For example, I recently heard a story about foreign officials at a summit with Hu couldn’t figure out how his translator was remembering everything Hu said while taking so few notes; they soon realized that the only time the Chinese translator wrote anything down was when Hu said something that wasn’t in the transcript he was following, which wasn’t very often.) But there’s still plenty of meat there.
Anyway, the detailed stuff is in the briefing, but here’s the summary of what they talked about from the senior official, apprently more or less in this order.
They discussed a range of issues — which I would say, I will just mention at this stage — they discussed bilateral relations, including military-to-military relations. They discussed dialogues between the two sides. They discussed economic questions, which they — excuse me, which will be discussed later.
In terms of regional and global issues, they discussed North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Sudan. They also discussed human rights and Tibet. They discussed Taiwan and climate change. Those are the ones that I recall. If I’m missing any, I’ll try to make them up later.
Two things of immediate interest here. As one of the reporters there mentioned, when the two presidents met there was no mention of a new world reserve currency (a fairly outlandish and impractical proposition anyway) or of the U.S. somehow guaranteeing China’s bond purchases. Ergo: A lot of that is for show at home.
Secondly, despite what Secretary of State Clinton said on the airplane to Beijing about not bringing up the issue, human rights was discussed –Tibet and Sudan/Darfur–and disagreed on, inevitably. Is Mrs. Clinton setting her own agenda? It was always going to be a problem having somebody that forceful, the first politician in the job for 40 years. That comment didn’t seem very Obama-esque and it now seems it may have been Clinton-esque. Problems down the road?