Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit United States early next year

Chinese President Hu Jintao accepted an invitation Sunday from visiting U.S. President George W. Bush to make an official trip to the United States early next year, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The visit will give Hu a chance to burnish China's image in the United States amid strains over trade, China's growing military power, human rights and other issues.

Xinhua didn't give a date for the visit. It said Bush extended the invitation during talks Sunday morning with Hu at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

The Chinese leader postponed a U.S. visit in September due to Hurricane Katrina. But he and Bush met while both were attending ceremonies in New York for the 60th anniversary of the United Nations.

Chinese officials had said Hu hoped to use his earlier planned visit to repair relations with Washington.

Beijing has watched with alarm as a series of strains marred ties with Washington, their biggest trading partner and the last superpower.

U.S. officials have expressed unease at China's booming military budget. They are pressing Beijing to change its trade policies and to relax tight controls that they say keep its currency, the yuan, undervalued and give Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage, AP reports. P.T.

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