New York welcomes Xi, solidifies ties with China

Updated: 2015-09-08 11:28

By Zhang Qiyue(China Daily USA)

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Editor's note: This is the speech made by Zhang Qiyue, China's consul general in New York, at a reception at the Chinese Consulate General in New York on Sept 3 as she accepted New York State resolutions welcoming President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to the United States and reaffirming the commitment to stronger ties between New York and China.

Distinguished senators and assembly members,

Dear guests and friends,

Good morning.

Thank you all for coming to the Consulate and it is good to see so many friends. Your presence today reminds me of my visit to the state capitol in Albany last May. I remember it was a Tuesday, the "lobbyist day" as you put it, the capitol building was full of people and everyone was hustling.

But despite your busy schedules, I was warmly greeted by so many of you and later officially introduced on the floors of both the Senate and the Assembly. I saw for myself your enthusiasm about the relations between New York and China and I was really touched by your commitment to making the relations even stronger. Thank you so much.

The resolution you have adopted captures the spirit of our bilateral relations. Today, ours has become the defining bilateral relationship in the 21st century. But it has not been without problems, some of which even seem insurmountable. When you read newspapers or watch TV, you will often find negative stories about China. Our cooperation in a host of areas seems to be neglected and our disagreements are being hyped up. Some otherwise purely technical or marginal issues are being framed in the light of China-US rivalry. There is still a lot of misunderstanding, misconception and even skepticism about the future of China-US relations. But where do our relations really stand and where are they going?

Whenever we talk about our bilateral relationship, we often cite trade volumes and investment figures. Business ties are indeed one of the pillars of our relations and we have done a great job in that regard.

But for me, the most accurate indicator of our bilateral relationship is the readiness and eagerness of the two peoples to connect, understand and make friends with each other and whether they have warm feelings towards each other. What has driven, sustained and enriched our bilateral ties is the active engagement between our peoples. And that, in my view, is the heart and soul of China-US relationship.

In that regard the stories are impressive.

Take New York as an example. It is the most popular destination for Chinese people and China became New York City's fourth-biggest source of visitors last year. New York boasts the most Chinese students and companies among all American cities. In NYU alone, there are 3,000 Chinese students. NYU-Shanghai was set up three years ago. American professors teach on the Shanghai campus once a week. Students in New York and Shanghai get to participate in the exchange programs and experience the culture in the other country.

New York is also home to the oldest and largest China town and one of the largest Chinese communities in America. The Chinese Americans have not only built a life for themselves but also contributed to our bilateral cooperation in various sectors.

In the economic realm, New York State has received 3.8 billion dollars in Chinese investment over the last 15 years and is hosting 120 Chinese-owned establishments, which provide nearly 2,200 jobs. Connections between our peoples have never been so close and the resolution you have adopted reflects this reality and shows the aspiration of the people of New York to build even closer connections.

The timing of the resolution couldn't have been better. In a few weeks, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the US. The historic significance of this visit cannot be overstated. It will mark a new milestone in the new model of major-country relationship between our two countries featuring mutual respect and mutual benefit.

The two countries are making preparations for this visit, which will deliver substantial benefits in various areas. But state visits, as a rule, not only promote business ties, they always produce agreements to enhance people-to-people exchanges. You might remember that the visa extension arrangement was announced during President Obama's visit to China last year. President Xi's visit will bring a lot of good news to our already robust people-to-people exchanges. Let's work together to ensure the success of the state visit.

Senators and assembly members,

China-US relationship is and will remain the most important bilateral relationship of our time. You have shown far-reaching vision and global perspectives in sponsoring and adopting this resolution. My thanks go to all of you for making it a reality.

As you are directly connected with your constituents, you have a great role to play in building closer friendship and broader understanding between our two peoples. I believe that with your support and the active participation of everyone in our two nations, an even brighter future for the China-US relationship is unfolding right before us.

Thank you.

The author is China's consul general in New York.

(China Daily USA 09/08/2015 page12)