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The Chinese government is likely hoping that questions will revolve mainly around the joint statement, which is not expected to touch on human rights, said Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong.

Wednesday’s news conference may be the only spontaneous public moment in the entire visit, which includes a luncheon speech, meetings with congressional leaders, a state dinner and a stop in Chicago on the way home.

The visit begins with a small informal dinner at the White House following his arrival Tuesday night. After a formal welcoming ceremony Wednesday morning, Hu will go into talks, first in a small-group session in the Oval Office and then an expanded meeting in the Cabinet Room and discussions with business leaders.