Clarissa Ward
January 17, 2011

When President Hu meets with President Obama this week, it will be the first time the leaders meet as representatives of the two largest economies in the world.

And you can be pretty sure that the visit will look very different from Hu’s last visit in 2006, when he was given lunch instead of a state dinner.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the balance of power has shifted in this relationship in the last few years, with China’s growth surging in the double digits as the U.S. grapples with high unemployment, sluggish growth and an expensive war in Afghanistan.

The question is whether in light of this shift, China is growing more strident in dealing with the U.S. and in pursuing its national interests.

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