Thu, February 16, 2012
China > China & World > Vice President Xi Jinping visits US

Xi holds talks with US Congress

2012-02-16 00:28:08 GMT2012-02-16 08:28:08(Beijing Time)  Global Times

Vice President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives to meet US lawmakers Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP)

Vice President Xi Jinping said in Washington Wednesday that the development of Sino-US friendly cooperation is unstoppable and irreversible, and that the relationship has been moving forward despite fluctuations.

Xi told US business leaders that the time was ripe for a "new historical starting point" for relations between the two sides.

Steps taken by China to revalue its currency have helped cut its overall trade surplus and have boosted US exports to China, Xi said.

"China has become the US' fastest growing export market. China's trade surplus as a proportion of GDP has been falling from over 7 percent to 2 percent, at a level internationally recognised as reasonable," he said. Xi made the marks at a luncheon in Washington co-hosted by the US-China Business Council and the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Earlier Wednesday, Xi toured Capitol Hill and held talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, as well as House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.

An aide to Max Baucus, one of the senators meeting with Xi, told The Washington Post before the talks that US concerns over the value of the yuan would be raised.

Maria Cantwell, another senator joining the meeting, told the Post that she would bring up issues such as intellectual property protection.

During talks with US President Barack Obama the day earlier, Xi also warned Washington against protectionist measures.

He said that trade friction between China and the US should be resolved through dialogue and that protectionism should be eschewed.

Although bilateral trade was still "unbalanced" in favor of China in 2011, US exports to China outgrew its imports.

US exports to China reached $122.2 billion in 2011, up some 20 percent from the previous year, while imports from China jumped to $324.5 billion, a 15 percent increase, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Concerning the human rights dispute, Xi said that given China's huge population, considerable regional diversity and uneven development, the country still faced challenges to improve people's livelihoods and advance human rights.

"The Chinese government will always put people's interests first and take seriously their aspirations and demands," he added.

China is ready to conduct candid and constructive dialogue and exchanges on human rights with the US and other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect, said Xi.

"Instead of unilateral harsh criticism over the human rights issue, dialogue would be mutually beneficial to both China and the US in improving their respective human rights conditions," said Tao Wenzhao, a researcher at the Institute of US Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

"There is no country in the world that has such a perfect human rights condition allowing it to blame other countries," Tao said.

The Obama administration last September notified US Congress of its decision to sell arms worth $5.85 billion to Taiwan, seen by Beijing as the latest evidence of Washington's nonchalance toward China's core interests.

Xi said the Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and remains, as always, the most important and most sensitive issue in Sino-US relations.

The United States rejects any calls for "Taiwan independence," Obama said, adding that his country wants to see the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations continue.

Liu Wendong, a researcher at the Institute of US Studies at CASS, told the Global Times that the fundamental disparities are hard to dispel.

"Under such circumstances, the two could only get to know each other better by being more transparent," Liu said.

Tao said that the two nations need to improve their established mechanisms to better communicate on differences.

Zhu Shanshan and agencies contributed to this story



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