WASHINGTON – Chinese Vice President and expected future leader Xi Jinping urged international stability Wednesday between the U.S. and China, calling for a “mutually beneficial relationship” in a speech before business leaders on the second day of his U.S. tour.
“Despite twists and turns, China-U.S. relations have kept moving forward,” Xi said. “The two sides should increase mutual understanding. …. This is what the China-U.S. cooperative partnership calls for and what the international community expects from us.”
In his last stop in Washington, Xi spoke to corporate executives at a lunch sponsored by the U.S.-China Business Council, underlining China’s openness to “a constructive role” by the United States. Xi expressed his hopes for a “new type of relationship between major countries.” He is expected to lead China in the next decade by succeeding President Hu Jintao in 2013 to take charge of the country’s Communist Party.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addressed Xi before his speech. He stressed the rapidly changing developments for U.S.-China relations since his work in the 1970s, when international relations meant “notions of sovereignty and of conflict between nations, and the inevitability of competition leading to deepening disagreements.”
“Mr. Vice President, you are here at a crucial moment,” Kissinger said. “Your visit can prove to the world that history can be moved toward reconciliation, not conflict.”
It’s exactly what Xi has been doing this week, meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and several other government officials on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
At Wednesday’s event, Xi said he hoped the U.S. “will respect the interests and concerns of China,” while also increasing cooperation in areas such as the Korean peninsula and Iran. Xi called for the countries to “reduce misunderstandings and suspicion.” He defended China’s stance on Tibet, which had sparked protests Tuesday on Capitol Hill and the White House.
“We also hope the U.S. will finally honor its commitment to recognize Tibet as a part of China,” he said. “It is only natural that we have some differences on the issue of human rights.”
Although the relationship between the two countries remains conflicted over trade and economic issues, Xi emphasized China’s growth in business and its role in global trade, particularly for the United States. The U.S.-China Business Council’s presented its Business Environment Survey, projecting China to be a $150 to $200 billion market for U.S. companies.
Commerce Secretary John Bryson explained at the event that China’s exports have grown by almost 50 percent since the country joined the World Trade Organization a decade ago, but the U.S. deficit with China has grown by about 30 percent. China and the U.S. must aim for a “truly balanced growth,” Bryson said.
“We can achieve that, through expanding trade and on respect for intellectual property, on open investment in each other’s economies, and on policies that support global innovation, fair competition, and a sound balance between consumption and decision,” he said.