Factbox: Pomp and circumstance key to U.S.-China visit

(BestGrowthStock) – The pomp and circumstance surrounding Chinese President Hu Jintao’s January 19 U.S. visit is likely to play an important role in the success or failure of the event.

In a signal of the importance the United States places on the relationship with China, President Barack Obama is according Hu the trappings of a full state visit, marking only the third such affair Obama has hosted. The leaders of India and Mexico were also treated to state visits.

China had eagerly sought a state visit for Hu, who was granted only an “official” visit by President George W. Bush in 2006 that included a lunch instead of a black-tie dinner.

There are risks for Obama in opting for the full state visit. If anything goes wrong, it could cast a cloud over talks focused on currencies, North Korea, military ties and other issues.

Hu’s 2006 U.S. visit was marred by glitches, including an incidents in which a shouting protester from the Falun Gong spiritual movement interrupted the South Lawn arrival ceremony and Hu’s People’s Republic of China was incorrectly identified as the Republic of China — rival Taiwan’s formal name.

To avoid snafus, officials are carefully reviewing protocol for a visit that has involved months of planning.

Here is a list of the main events on the program.

* A formal arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, complete with a 21-gun salute, honor guards, a review of the troops by each president and anthems played by military bands.

* A series of meetings between the two presidents and their aides.

* A joint White House press conference by Obama and Hu — an event that required negotiation by the White House since the Chinese president typically does not take questions from reporters.

* A black-tie state dinner that will be attended by U.S. and Chinese officials as well as prominent Chinese-Americans, businesspeople and others who have ties to China through their work in the arts or other professions. Though the menu and guest list for that event is sure to draw a lot of attention, the White House hopes to keep those details a closely guarded secret until the day of the state visit.

(Compiled by Caren Bohan; Editing by Xavier Briand)