Washington — Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping wrapped up a five-day trip to the United States with a stop in California that included meetings with U.S. government officials and private sector leaders and a visit with local schoolchildren who are studying Chinese.
“Cooperation between China and the United States cannot be closed by any force,” Xi said in remarks to business leaders February 15 in Washington. “On the contrary, it will open wider and wider.”
The vice president’s trip came at the invitation of his U.S. counterpart, Vice President Biden, following Biden’s trip to Beijing in August 2011. The trips have come as part of a series of reciprocal visits announced by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao during the latter’s visit to Washington in 2011.
“China has made the most remarkable progress in the shortest amount of time of maybe any country in history,” Biden said at a lunch to welcome Xi to Los Angeles February 17. Biden said that the United States welcomes China’s gains, and that there is great potential for both countries to grow if they work together to solidify relations.
“The honest, sustained dialogue we’ve had this week can and will build a stronger relationship that benefits both our nations and our people,” Biden said.
Xi also commended efforts to strengthen ties, calling on Chinese and American citizens to “seize opportunities, intensify exchanges, build trust, deepen cooperation and make China-U.S. cooperative partnerships grow.”
In California, Biden and Xi visited students studying Mandarin at an international school, attended a professional basketball game and met with local leaders, U.S. governors and Chinese provincial officials. They also visited the port of Los Angeles, the busiest by volume in the United States, a stop that underscores the importance of the strong U.S.-China trade relationship. Nearly 60 percent of the imports moving through the port came from China in 2011, with bilateral trade topping $446 billion for the year.
Before his visit to California, Xi stopped in Muscatine, Iowa, which he had visited on an exchange program when he was still an agricultural official in Hebei, Iowa’s sister province. He visited his former hosts and met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who was also governor when Xi visited the state in 1985.
Xi’s trip to the United States began with two days of talks in Washington, including meetings with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Army General Martin Dempsey and leaders from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The meetings covered a wide range of topics, including trade and economic issues, agriculture, security and military issues, human rights concerns and regional and global challenges.
The United States has been working to strengthen its relations in East Asia through the East Asia Summit, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which Obama hosted last year in Hawaii. Obama also recently completed a trip across the region to expand U.S. trade and reaffirm U.S. security commitments, which are seen as a significant source of stability and security in the 21st century.