The White House is to throw a lavish reception for the Chinese leader,Hu Jintao, on Wednesday in an effort to patch up relations after a difficult year dominated by tensions over currency rates, jobs, North Korea and other international issues.

President Hu is due in Washington tomorrow for the start of a four-day visit, the highlight of which is to be a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday evening.

Hu is to go from Washington to Chicago on Thursday for two days. The mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, announcing details of the visit last week, including a gala dinner as well as trips to a Chinese car spare parts factory and a Chinese language school, reflected US excitement about the trip. “It is a big deal. Big, big, big, big. Big deal,” Daley said.

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