BEIJING -- Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington was widely applauded at home in China on Thursday, with the honor of a state banquet seen as validation of China's rise over the past decade to global economic and political prominence.
The state-run China Daily ran a banner headline heralding a new chapter in relations, emphasizing the honors accorded to Hu as well as the $45 billion in business deals sealed between the sides during the visit.
"Leaders hail symbiotic ties," ran the headline in the Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.
Papers covered their front pages with pictures of Hu meeting President Barack Obama and speaking at the official welcoming ceremony on the White House's South Lawn.
Beijing residents interviewed on the street Thursday were overwhelmingly positive about the reception accorded to their country's leader.
"China and the U.S. aren't enemies. They're countries that need to work together. China needs the U.S. for its development and the U.S. needs China's development," said office worker Sun Bin.
"A lot of people are still getting used to China's becoming big and powerful. That's why this visit is important," said another Beijing resident, who only gave his surname, Meng.
Peking University scholar Zhu Feng said the frank exchanges between the leaders on controversial issues spoke to the maturity of their relationship.
"They have been facing up to the controversial issues, seeking future routes of bilateral cooperation," Zhu said.