, BEIJING, Apr 1 – China said Thursday that President Hu Jintao would attend an international summit on nuclear security in the United States later this month, amid strained ties between the two nations.
The announcement by foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang means that Hu and US President Barack Obama will have their first opportunity to see each other since relations hit a rough patch earlier this year over Taiwan and Tibet.
The nuclear security summit will be held in Washington on April 12-13 to discuss the prevention of acts of nuclear terrorism and steps that can be taken to secure vulnerable nuclear materials.
Obama called for such a summit to be established during an April 2009 speech in Prague, when he pledged to work towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Relations between China and the United States have deteriorated in recent months over a host of issues, from Taiwan and Tibet to trade disputes, the value of the yuan and Internet freedom.
Washington angered Beijing in January with a 6.4-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers part of its own territory, and Obama\’s talks with Ticapitalfmnewn spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House the following month.
The United States is also pressuring China to allow the yuan to appreciate, with lawmakers pushing the US Treasury to label Beijing a "currency manipulator" in a report due out this month.
But the two countries have made moves to smooth over tensions in recent weeks. China announced the next round of high-level strategic and economic talks between the two was expected to be held in Beijing in late May.
And comments made by Obama on Monday in which he pledged to further develop a "positive relationship" with China were welcomed by Beijing.
Hu will also travel to Brazil, Chile and Venezuela, Qin told reporters.
Brazil is to host the second summit of the world\’s main emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — on April 16 in Brasilia.