Chinese President Jiang Zemin said in Huston Wednesday that he was confident a summit later this week with US President George W. Bush would yield positive results.
Jiang was speaking at a banquet held in his honor at the Inter-Continental Hotel.
"We will have an in-depth exchange of views again on bilateral ties and the international situation," he said. "I'm confident that the meeting will generate positive results and help move forward our relationship."
Jiang's one-hour meeting with Bush, scheduled for Friday at the US president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, is expected to focus on a series of sensitive issues.
US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that the US president was looking forward to a "candid and constructive" discussion during their meeting.
Topping the agenda could be the situation on the Korean peninsula, which has been thrown into new disarray after Pyongyang's startling revelation that it has been secretly developing nuclear weapons.
Bush is also likely to raise the issue of Iraq and the question whether China will support a new US-backed UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East country.
China remains non-committal on backing a resolution, and its Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was quoted by the state-run media as calling for "a political settlement ... within the framework of the United Nations."
Jiang arrived from Chicago at Houston's Ellington Field Airport earlier in the day and was presented with the keys to the city by Mayor Lee Brown.
Former US president George Bush, who resided in the White House when Jiang was made leader of the Communist Party in 1989, praised the Chinese guest's foreign-policy legacy at the evening's banquet.
"We all should be very grateful to President Jiang Zemin for what he has done to keep US-China relations on a sound track and indeed to see improved relations between our countries," he said.
Shortly after his arrival in Houston, Jiang, an avid advocate of high technology, visited the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Johnson Space Center, which is the control center for US space missions.
The visit was of particular significance, because China is involved in its own fledgling space program and hopes to launch a manned space mission within the next few years.
A Pentagon report in July said China could send an astronaut into orbit by 2003 or 2004.
Jiang is to deliver a speech Thursday at Texas A and M University. After meeting with Bush, he is to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this weekend in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Once he returns home next week, China will be preoccupied with the 16th Party Congress, scheduled to begin November 8.
(China Daily October 24, 2002)