WASHINGTON / NEW YORK - The coming visit by Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping to the United States will be significant in furthering cooperation between the two countries, China's ambassador to the United States Zhang Yesui told reporters in Washington on Friday.
Xi will be in the US from Feb 13 to 17 at the official invitation of US Vice-President Joe Biden. The purpose of the trip, one of the high-level exchanges planned between the two countries this year, is to follow up on the agreement reached by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama to promote the Sino-US cooperative partnership, Zhang said.
"Both sides attach great importance to the visit and preparations are going smoothly," he said. "I am confident that with the joint effort from both sides, the visit will be a great success."
The Chinese leader will arrive in Washington DC first to meet with Biden, Obama and other senior officials.
He will speak at a lunch on Wednesday hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and US-China Business Council before leaving for Iowa and California.
In Iowa, Xi will reunite with old friends who hosted him in 1985 in Muscatine, attend a dinner at the State Capitol in Des Moines and be present at the US-China Agriculture Symposium.
In Los Angeles, he will visit a Chinese company and speak at a lunch with the local business community.
This year is the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China and the signing of the Shanghai Communique, the agreement which outlined future Sino-US relations after Nixon's visit.
In the past four decades, the ambassador said, Sino-US relations have witnessed a steady development with great achievements, although both countries had different views on some issues.
In January last year, during Hu's state visit to the US, the two leaders reached agreement on the importance of building cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual benefits.
With deepening cooperation and partnership, both the US and China are finding more common ground.
"Both countries have the need and the ability to work together promoting domestic and world economy, as well as dealing with regional hotspots and global challenges," Zhang said.
In addition, the two sides need to handle the disputes and differences carefully.
"The key is to respect each other, especially each other's core interests and major concerns," he said. "At the same time, we should strengthen our dialogues and communication and enhance mutual trust to avoid miscalculation.
"This relationship is not a zero-sum game. China's development will bring more opportunities for cooperation."
Zhang stressed that China is still a developing country. It will continue to pursue a path of peaceful development, and has no intention of compromising another country's interests for its own benefit.
"There is every reason to believe that China and the United States can establish a new model of relationship under which two big countries can coexist peacefully and develop together," he said.
On Friday, top Obama aides also emphasized the significance of the trip. At a teleconference, Daniel Russel, special assistant to the president and senior director for Asian affairs, said getting US-China relationship right is central to Obama's Asia policy.
"That involves engaging China, especially engaging the Chinese leadership, increasing the quality of communication and better cooperation," he said.
Russel also described the visit as an important opportunity for Americans to learn more about Xi and to allow Xi to broaden his understanding of the US.
Michael Froman, assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economics, said the US and China have begun to make progress over the past two years on a range of issues, such as the exchange rate, trade surplus, market access and intellectual property rights.
Froman said there was still a lot to be done, and Xi's visit will give the leaders the opportunity to share perspectives and move forward.