Relations are ‘globally important’

Vice-president calls for stronger Sino-US ties in Washington visit

WASHINGTON / BEIJING – A healthy and stable Sino-US relationship is crucial to both nations and globally important, Vice-President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday during a meeting in Washington.

It is “vital” for the US to have a strong relationship with China, Obama said.

Earlier, Xi called for China and the US to boost cooperation and forge stronger links, especially among their citizens.

China and the US should “enhance dialogue, expand cooperation”, promote trust, strengthen communication between their people and face common challenges together, Xi said on Tuesday in a meeting with his US counterpart, Joe Biden.

Xi said he hoped his visit would strengthen relations.

Biden said the two powers should work together despite their differences.

“We are not always going to see eye-to-eye and we are not always going to see things exactly the same, but we have very important economic and political concerns that warrant that we work together,” Biden said.

“Our bilateral relationship is the most important in the world,” he said.
Vice-President Xi Jinping meets US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington on Tuesday. China and the US should work closer together to face common challenges, Xi said. [Photo/Agencies]He also said the sign of the maturity of the relationship is that the two countries can talk candidly about their differences.

He made the comments before talks with Xi.

Xi began his five-day US tour on Monday with a meeting over dinner with former senior US officials who were instrumental in developing or maintaining the China-US relationship.

The ex-officials are former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson, former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Samuel Berger, and former US secretary of labor Elaine Chao.

At the dinner, Xi called on the US to ensure that rhetoric associated with the presidential campaign will not damage bilateral relations.

Trade volume between the world’s two largest economies hit $440 billion last year.

Kissinger, known as the architect of China-US relations with his secret visit to China in 1971, said he has recently learned of Xi’s opinions of China-US ties and read Xi’s interview with the Washington Post that was published on Monday.

Those views “are fundamentally important for the future of China-US relations”.

“China and the US face the common challenge to seize the opportunities to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific area and all over the world,” Kissinger said.

Xi arrived in the US on Monday afternoon for a visit which analysts described as important for the stable development of China-US ties.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic visit by US president Richard Nixon and the declaration of the Shanghai Communique that helped lay the foundations for China-US ties.

Experts said Xi’s meeting with the former US officials highlights the significance of China-US ties.

He wants to convey the importance of friendship and contact as the foundation of any bilateral relationship, said Li Cheng, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.

In return the former officials will tell Xi that the Sino-US relationship is not a matter of choice but of necessity and not part of history but part of the future, he said.

Douglas Paal, vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Xi is smart enough to listen to those people who have invested effort and time in building constructive relations with China.

These people “understand the difficult challenges we face, as well as some of the ways to overcome them”, Paal said.

Ni Feng, an expert with the institute of American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi is using the meeting to express his views on Sino-US ties.

Tao Wenzhao, an expert on American studies, also from the academy, said the meeting showed China’s willingness to push forward relations with the US by respecting those who have contributed to the ties.

Tan Yingzi and Chen Weihua contributed to this story.

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