President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao are holding talks at the White House Thursday, on issues expected to include trade and human rights.
Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush are now welcoming the Chinese president and his wife, Liu Yongqing, in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House that includes a 21-gun salute.
Several hundred people have gathered on the streets near the White House, most protesting the visit and China's human rights record, but some in the crowd waved banners in support of Mr. Hu.
Mr. Hu and Mr. Bush are expected to discuss the controversial nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, and China's human rights record.
Washington also is pressuring China to revalue its currency and reduce its trade surplus with the United States - which was more than $200 billion in 2005.