Vice-premier lauds nation's US ties

Updated: 2012-12-12 00:44

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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Cooperation is the dominant trend in the relationship between China and the United States despite some problems between the two countries, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.

Li made the remarks when meeting former US president Jimmy Carter. It was Li's third meeting with US guests since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which concluded last month.

Vice-premier lauds nation's US ties

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang meets visiting former US president Jimmy Carter on Tuesday at Zhongnanhai in Bejing. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi / CHINA DAILY] 

The frequency of Li's meetings with US guests reflects the importance that the new CPC leadership attaches to China-US relations, experts and the media have said.

Li started his talks with Carter in English, asking whether the 88-year-old former president slept well after arriving in Beijing on Monday.

"China and the world won't forget that more than three decades ago, China and the US formally established diplomatic relations when you were the US president. It was a big event not only for the two countries but also for the whole world," Li told Carter.

"Ping-pong diplomacy" in the early 1970s melted the ice between the two countries, after which then-US president Richard Nixon paid a groundbreaking visit to China in 1972. The two countries established diplomatic ties on Jan 1, 1979, when Carter was US president.

Sino-US relations, which are becoming more mature, are the result of the efforts of generations of China's leaders and its people, and those efforts should be cherished and protected, Li said.

China will deepen the policy of reform and opening-up, and that will provide great opportunities for China to cooperate with other nations, he added.

Li asked Carter to introduce "a genuine China" to politicians and the public in the US.

Li already met former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson and a delegation of US entrepreneurs after the 18th CPC Congress.

"That has reflected the importance of China-US ties and that the leadership of the two sides are making efforts exploring the most complicated and important bilateral relations," Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV commented in its report on Tuesday.

Sun Zhe, director of the Center for China-US Relations at Tsinghua University, said: "The visits of high-level US guests are usually set at least three months in advance. It is not easy for them to meet Chinese leaders so frequently.

"The Chinese leadership has sent a clear signal of its desire to deepen cooperation with the West."

Sun said China's relations with the US and Europe have become increasingly important and have come to quite a subtle stage ― they compete with each other, but at the same time, the experience and lessons of developed economies are increasingly important to China.

Still, as Carter plays a special role in bilateral ties, Chinese leaders have always managed to arrange meetings with him when he visits China, he added.