Hu Jintao's comment is no surprise really. All global currency systems are borne of power struggles and reflect the status quo. From Rome, to the Spanish and British Empires, to the current US Superpower, a global currency has always been adopted after much bloodshed. Having a global currency is the reward one "earns" by winning wars and globally projecting power. At least that's what history tells us.
And so President Hu Jinato's comment is describing a new world order. China is saying that the post World War II and post USA-Soviet eras are OVER. A new multilateral world is slowly emerging. But, he also tempered his statement by saying that the Chinese Yuan would take a long time to become an accepted global currency. Why? Because he still wants the Chinese Yuan to be artificially low and pegged to the US Dollar for trade purposes, and he also wants the US Dollar to maintain its value to ensure the value of China's US Denominated holdings. Those are two conflicting goals. Good luck with that.
The US has no choice but to devalue the dollar. That's what is keeping the economy afloat - negative real interest rates. So long as interest rates are below inflation, and that's how Bernanke wants it, the US Dollar will continue to devalue over the long haul. which means that China's vast holdings will be devalued as well.
So what is really going on here? It's geopolitical maneuvering. Both the US and China have engaged in a trade relationship based on recycled dollars. China sells things to the US, and in return, re-invests its surplus in US debt to keep selling things to the US. It is a vicious, unsustainable cycle. A surplus grows in China, and an usustainable debt load grows in the US. This system only has two futures:
A slow unwind; a managed rebalancing, if you will, or,
Everything else Hu Jintao and Obama discuss this week is just noise.