Chinese President Hu Jintao continued his state visit to the United States on Friday with a tour of a high school in Chicago, his only stop outside Washington during the four-day trip.
Hu, accompanied by local officials, visited Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in downtown Chicago.
The high school established the only Confucius Institute in the United States that is housed in a K-12 environment and which primarily focuses on the Chinese language and cultural education programs.
Later in the day, Hu was to visit an exhibition in suburban Chicago showing achievements of Chinese companies in the midwestern United States.
At least 40 Chinese businesses now have operations in the Chicago area, and the number is growing. For example, Wanxiang America Corp., which makes solar panels, has opened plants and a headquarters around Chicago in the last two years.
In addition, Chicago-area businesses such as Boeing, Motorola, McDonald's, Abbott and Wrigley have expanded operations in China. On Wednesday,President Barack Obama announced new business deals with China worth $45 billion, including a highly sought $19-billion deal for 200 Boeing airplanes.
Hu arrived in Chicago on Thursday afternoon from Washington, after his discussions with Obama on major bilateral and world issues.
During their talks Wednesday, Hu and Obama agreed to build a China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
Soon after his arrival in Chicago, Hu met with local officials and later was the guest of honor at a lavish dinner that was attended by about 500 people, including Mayor Richard Daley, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, Governor Pat Quinn and business leaders.
In 2006, Daley pushed for the development of the Confucius Institute in Chicago, a language and cultural center that started as a small parent-driven Chinese language program. It's now one of the largest institutes of its kind in North America; about 12,000 Chicago public school students take Chinese and the institute offers community classes and international exchanges for teachers.
The Chinese president began his state visit on Tuesday in Washington. The trip to the United States, Hu's second as head of state, is aimed at enhancing the positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship between China and the United States.
Hu last time visited the United States in April 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2011)