What China wants
Web posted at: 3:27 p.m. EDT (1927 GMT)
BEIJING (CNN) -- A high profile agreement to build a $415 million power plant in China was signed Thursday by two United States power companies and their Chinese partners. And the official Xinhua news agency announced a host of other business deals will be signed during President Clinton's historic visit to China.
Just what business and political agreements China wants to accomplish has been easy to miss amid the pomp, circumstance and controversy of Clinton's arrival.
The prevailing message among Chinese officials who spoke with CNN was that China wants to be recognized as an equal partner in its relationship with the United States.
The summit, "shows Clinton recognizes China's importance." said Qian Wenrong, of the Xinhua International Affairs Center. "In the future, China will play its own role in international affairs as much as possible. This will be part of the Sino-U.S. strategic partnership."
Taiwan a sensitive issue
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told CNN the status of Taiwan will figure as "the most sensitive problem in China-U.S. relations." Beijing insists the island of Taiwan should be under the control of the mainland government, while the United States has supported an independent government there.
Despite their differences, analysts say, Chinese president Jiang Zemin will do all he can to make the summit with President Clinton go well. Jiang has much to gain politically from doing so, said David Shambaugh of George Washington University.
"It's going to accrue to Jiang's stature in the party and as a national leader in China. And I think it will really advance and consolidate his grip over power, Shambaugh said.
The actual summit between the two presidents will take place this weekend in Beijing.
CNN Beijing Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon and Reuters contributed to this report.
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