ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
Today, Hu Jintao made his first White House visit as China's president, and both he and President Bush say they reinforced the relationship between their two countries, while recognizing important mutual goals. They discussed a range of issues, from trade to the nuclear ambitions of Iran to the lack of religious freedom in China. Coming up, we'll hear about the protest surrounding Hu's visit and talk about human rights in China.
First, here's NPR's Don Gonyea, at the White House.
DON GONYEA reporting:
As the day started, everything was going according to the script. American and Chinese flags were everywhere. The Truman balcony at the White House was bathed in sunshine. President Hu and his wife arrived in a large, black limousine and were accorded full military honors.
(Soundbite of marching band)
GONYEA: The two presidents, wearing dark suits, reviewed a fife and drum corps. A 21-gun salute was fired, as a military band played the American and Chinese national anthems. President Bush spoke first, praising China as peaceful and prosperous, but then calling for more freedoms for China's citizens.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: China's become successful because the Chinese people are experiencing the freedom to buy and to sell and to produce and China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely and to worship.
GONYEA: Hu then stepped to the podium.
President HU JINTAO (People's Republic of China): (Speaking foreign language)
GONYEA: But he had barely begun when a woman, standing in the top level of a viewing stand set up for the press, began to shout.
Unidentified Woman: (Speaking foreign language)
GONYEA: Speaking in Chinese, she yelled, President Hu, your days are numbered. In English, she shouted, President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong, which is a spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government. It took several minutes, but uniformed Secret Service agents removed the still-screaming woman. She was later identified as a reporter with credentials issued for a Falun Gong newspaper. She's been charged with disorderly conduct, though more serious federal charges of intimidating or disrupting a foreign official are also being considered, according to the Secret Service.
After the ceremony, the two leaders met in the Oval Office, where President Bush did apologize to his guest for the disruption. Then reporters were escorted in for questions. The first came from an American, who asked when China would become a democracy with free elections. President Hu answered, through an interpreter.
President HU: (Through translator) I don't know. What do you mean by a democracy? What I can tell you is that we've always believed in China that if there is no democracy, there will be no modernization.
GONYEA: President Bush told reporters he was heartened to hear Hu say the trade deficit with China, now at more than $200 billion, is unsustainable, though no concrete way of dealing with the issue was announced. Also, President Bush did not get China's endorsement of his push for the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Mr. Bush settled for this --
President BUSH: And we have common goal, and that is that Iran should not have the nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the know-how to how to make a nuclear weapon.
GONYEA: The White House says the president also brought up the human rights issue, hoping to apply pressure in that area, even while encouraging greater economic ties between the two countries.
Don Gonyea, NPR News, the White House.
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