President Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao paid lip service today to the idea of stronger US-China relations, but Obama's visit has done nothing but highlight the "yawning differences" between the two nations on economic issues, writes Dexter Roberts. "Lofty statements of common interests aside, the all-important Sino-US economic relationship is certain to be defined by friction as much as cooperation for a long time to come," he writes in BusinessWeek.
On trade, the two nations are "going their separate ways." China—on the path to supplanting the US as the dominant economic player in Asia—is increasingly critical of what it calls America's protectionist policies. The US, meanwhile, wants Beijing to allow the yuan to increase in value, a subject that Hu "pointedly" ignored in his speech today. With these issues in the background, grandiose statements of cooperation aren't going to cut it.