Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with leaders of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, including House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with leaders of the U.S. Congress on Feb.15, 2012. [Xinhua]
The Congress plays an important role in China-U.S. relations, Xi said, noting that China's top legislature, the National People's Congress, has established a mechanism of regular meetings with both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
Under this framework, Xi said, the Chinese and U.S. legislative bodies have carried out all-around communications and dialogues, making great contributions to boosting mutual understanding and trust and expanding bilateral cooperation.
The Chinese government will, as always, facilitate such dialogues and exchanges in order to promote the healthy and steady development of China-U.S. ties, he added.
In talks with Boehner, Xi said that the great progress in China-U.S. relations in the past 40 years has proved that the bilateral relationship is a mutually beneficial, cooperative partnership, with far more common interests than differences.
He also pointed out that applying active and pragmatic policies on China is a common practice by past and current U.S. governments and a major consensus of the Republicans and Democrats.
With the effects of the international financial crisis still dragging on and hotspot regional issues emerging one after another, China and the United States shoulder the responsibility to enhance cooperation and tackle challenges hand in hand, Xi said.
While meeting with Reid and McConnell, Xi said that China-U.S. relations have seen important progress since Chinese President Hu Jintao's successful state visit to the United States in January 2011.
The bilateral relationship, he added, is at a new historic starting point where the two countries need to follow the all-in-the-same-boat spirit and make joint efforts to overcome difficulties.
The two sides should strengthen cooperation in various fields, expand common interests and properly handle sensitive issues in bilateral relations, added the Chinese vice president.
Xi spoke positively of a bill Reid proposed in the Senate on recognizing the cultural and historical importance of China's Spring Festival, saying it is conducive to enhancing mutual understanding in the two nations' cultures and traditions.
On the Taiwan issue, Xi expressed the hope that the United States will firmly abide by the one-China policy and support the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations with concrete actions.
Xi also briefed the U.S. lawmakers about the remarkable progress China has made in human rights, while noting that improving human rights is a gradual process where there is no best, only better.
The Chinese government will, as always, strive for further progress in the human rights cause, Xi said, adding that China is ready to communicate with the United States, deepen mutual understanding and achieve common progress in this field on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
As regards Syria, Xi said that China's position is aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East and safeguarding relevant international principles and that Beijing is willing to continue to play a constructive role in its own manner.
On Iran's nuclear issue, Xi noted that China has worked consistently to defend the international nuclear non-proliferation system and opposes any Middle Eastern country developing nuclear weapons.
China's standpoint is that all parties concerned stick to the principle of dialogue and negotiations and seek a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, he added.
For their part, the U.S. Congressional leaders extended a warm welcome to the Chinese vice president, saying that Xi's visit is of great significance in boosting mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries as well as between their legislatures.
Boehner said that during his 21-year career in the Congress, he has always been dedicated to the development of U.S.-China relations.
Expressing his full agreement with Xi's views on developing bilateral ties, Boehner said that, against the backdrop of the current complicated international situation, the United States and China should enhance communications and broaden cooperation.
Reid and McConnell spoke highly of China's great achievements, and added that the relationship between the two heavyweight countries not only influences their own development but concerns the future of the world.
The two sides, they said, should adapt to the new situation, establish a closer cooperative relationship, properly handle existing problems in bilateral ties and push forward the development of their relations.