Change to Hu's schedule expected in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some analysts say, others see it as proof of discord Analysts have given a mixed reaction to the postponement of President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House, with some saying it was to be expected in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and others seeing it as a worrying sign of discord between Beijing and Washington. Yu Wanli , of the American Foreign Relations Study Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said yesterday it would be inappropriate for Mr Hu to make a state visit while the US was recovering from the disaster. 'As a guest, it would just not be good timing for President Hu to visit when President [George W.] Bush and his team were busy coping with the aftermath,' Mr Yu said. However, he admitted the mainland's state media had done a poor job reporting on the cancellation, which fuelled speculation about the reasons. Mr Yu pointed out that given the extensive preparations required on both sides to arrange such a visit, the schedule would be changed only in special circumstances. 'But [Katrina] is like September 11,' he said, referring to the terrorist attacks in the US four years ago. He said state media should have better explained the circumstances surrounding the postponement to give the public a better understanding of Sino-US relations. In Taipei, Tamkang University professor Edward Chen I-hsin agreed that as Mr Bush was occupied with the relief effort, postponing the trip was appropriate. Although the postponement would hamper Mr Hu's plans to improve Beijing's image in Washington, it gave the sides more time to sort out their differences on the protocol for the visit and helped mainland authorities save face, he said. 'While Hu Jintao was about to visit the United States, the two sides had different opinions over whether his trip was a state visit. So the postponement actually gives them more time to resolve their differences,' said Professor Chen, of the university's Institute of American Studies. The two leaders will still meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month, and the informal leaders' summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in South Korea in November. However, Hong Kong-based political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-sui was sceptical the meeting was cancelled because of the hurricane. '[Under the original plan], President Bush was to spend just half a day with Mr Hu. [I don't see] how that would have affected Mr Bush's relief and reconstruction schedule,' he said. Mr Lau suggested Beijing had used Katrina as an excuse to cancel the meeting because officials were unable to resolve their differences over issues ranging from the status of the visit to China's trade disputes with the US. He said Mr Hu may have wanted to use the added time to pressure the US and win more concessions. 'Hu's personality is different from his predecessor, Jiang Zemin ,' he said. 'Hu would rather wait than give in [to US demands], but Jiang would just do whatever he could to please the US.'