Consul General lauds progress in 2013

Updated: 2014-01-17 09:25

By MAY ZHOU in Houston (China Daily USA)

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Chinese Consul General Xu Erwen held a press conference last Thursday to talk about the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-US relations. Deputy Consuls General Li Guixi and Zhang Chuanbingwere also in attendance.

Houston was the first Chinese consulate general established in the US and Xu is its 12th consul general. Recalling then vice-premier Deng Xiaoping's 1979 visit to Houston, Xu said that Deng's iconic picture wearing a cowboy hat has become a symbol of Sino-US relations, and after three and a half decades, China and the US now have a lot of shared interests, with ever more exchanges at the political, economic and cultural levels.

Xu listed some of the many activities that occurred in her jurisdiction of eight southern states last year. Many regional officials visited China, for example, the governor of Georgia for the second time,signingseveral cooperation agreements with China and setting up Georgia's second Chinese office in Qingdao.

In addition, more than 30 delegations from China visited the southern states, where theygot warm welcomes from state and local governments.

Another signof more active Sino-US relationswas the increasing number of Chinese enterprises coming to invest in the southern US states. Xu said that by last November, more than 120 Chinese enterprises were registered with the Chinese Consulate General in Houston and she believes that there are at least an equal number of, if not more, unregistered Chinese enterprise doing business here. Chinese enterprises made $11.8 billion worth of investment in 2013 and created many jobs.

One big boost for the southern US and China relations are the non-stop Houston-Beijing flightsstarted in July of last year. Xu said that since their inception, the flights have been mostly full, and as a result Air China is planning to increase theflights from four times a week to daily and is talking about direct flights from Dallas, Miami and Atlanta to other cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Southern states are also showing more enthusiasm in learning Chinese, Xu said. Last year another four Confucius Institutes were established in the south, with a total now of 20; Houston school district signed an education agreement with China to promote Chinese learning among its 210,000 students in 297 schools; and Arkansas' governor honored 20 Chinese teachers as cultural ambassadors.

At the press conference, Xu also condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and discussed China's new direction for further reform.