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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Obama plans fall visit to China


    By Barbara Demick
    Los Angeles Times

     • Obama, Kennedy share close relationship

    BEIJING President Obama plans to make his first visit to China in mid-November, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. announced yesterday during his first meeting in Beijing with journalists.

    "After the president has been able to sit down with many of the good leaders here in China, I am hopeful ... the U.S.-China relationship will be stronger than ever before," Huntsman said.

    Although Obama's trip has been widely rumored, it had not been announced officially by the White House or by China. The president already had planned to attend the Nov. 14-15 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore.

    Huntsman said that the global economy, energy and climate change, as well North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan would be likely topics at the meetings.

    Responding to a question, Huntsman called for a regular dialogue about human rights.

    "I've always believed the human rights dialogue needs to be regularized and integrated into our broader discussions, so it isn't just a once-a-year discussion but an ongoing dialogue that is meaningful and reflects our values as a country," he said.

    Huntsman, who arrived in China the night before, chatted with journalists at the diplomatic residence. The former governor of Utah, a Republican, was flanked by his wife Mary Kaye and three of his seven children.

    The high-profile ambassador, whose name is mentioned as GOP presidential candidate, spoke to journalists in English and Chinese, which he learned as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan.