For the Obama administration, the four-day visit by President Hu Jintao of China may offer a platform to try to make progress on issues troubling their countries: currency, the trade imbalance, human rights and China’s military stance. But Mr. Hu arrives with a comparatively low-key message, intoning his favorite idea: harmony.
Over the past few years, that has become a catchword of his administration, used especially often when Mr. Hu is confronted with thorny situations that elude ready solutions, like domestic social unrest or a rising China’s impact on the outside world. In China, the term is sometimes used ironically as a verb to describe Web sites that suddenly disappear, “harmonized away,” and officially as a goal, a “harmonious society.”
That is also the goal for the difficult relations between the world’s two most powerful nations. In comments given before he left, Mr. Hu emphasized the common interests of the United States and China and “solemnly” pledged peace and cooperation.