Chinese governor's visit will test Xi-Obama summit

Updated: 2013-06-20 11:02

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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Chinese governor's visit will test Xi-Obama summit

In a visit that promises to deepen relations with California, the governor of its Chinese sister-state, Jiangsu province, will visit the Bay Area on Monday. After a reception in San Francisco, governor Li Xueyong will visit Berkeley and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Jiangsu's Department of Education and UC Berkeley on a cooperative education and training program. The following day he will have a breakfast meeting with US entrepreneurs with investments in Jiangsu, and then attend a human resources exchange seminar in Silicon Valley, before leaving for his next stop, Washington, DC.

With a population of 80 million, a coastline stretching more than 600 miles, and a GDP of $860 billion, Jiangsu is emerging as a strong candidate for US investments and cooperative ventures. Last April, California governor Jerry Brown chose Jiangsu as one of the stops on his China trade and investment mission. He talked there with local officials about expanding cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, biomedicine, information technology, and high-tech agriculture.

"The transformation of China in the last two or three decades indicates the power of the human mind and how people, when they work together, can almost move mountains," Brown said at a meeting with Jiangsu Party Secretary Luo Zhijun during the visit. "And I take inspiration from that, because we have many mountains to move."

Robert Griffiths, US consul general in Shanghai, said that the "desire of Jiangsu's top leadership to meet with the governor's delegation shows not only the attractiveness of California's innovative business economy, but also the value of establishing personal friendships with those leaders".

Three months later, California rolled out the red carpet for Jiangsu officials in Sacramento to celebrate an agreement to partner on the issues Brown had proposed.

Both parties also agreed to help ensure that the Sino-American Technological Innovation Park in Wuxi participates in the Joint Economic Committee established last year, and support training programs for Jiangsu civil servants at California universities.

Meanwhile, a "Jiangsu Week" will be held later this year to promote tourism, business and culture in Jiangsu. Jiangsu also participated in the China-California Joint Working Group established in April to promote trade and investment cooperation between the state and China.

Governor Li Xueyong will be the first Chinese governor to visit the Golden State after the two-day summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Obama in Sunnyland, California two weeks ago.

A summit that, according to UC Berkeley's Crystal Chang, "offered a rare window of opportunity for these two leaders to get to know each other on a more personal level before they launch into official state matters.

"President Xi is charismatic and politically savvy," she said. "His 'Chinese Dream' has a broad appeal and offers the Chinese people great hope for a brighter future - both at the individual and national level."

Stanford University's Mike Armacost said high-level official communication between China and US will "result in greater mutual trust between leaders, and the development of a strategic framework for managing Sino-US relations over the coming decade".

"China and the US are neither allies nor adversaries. We compete and we cooperate. We certainly share a stake in avoiding any drift toward conflict. We have developed a practical relationship of value to both our countries over the past four decades," he said.

George Koo, an international business consultant, said the potential of any higher-level official communication between China and US "can only be positive", particularly the informal meetings.

"There is no downside because there is not a preset agenda and therefore no expectation of what must be accomplished," he said. "Informal meetings are ideal for Americans and most suitable for their style."

Chinese leaders have shown an inclination to speak without stilted script but more spontaneously with the ability to reach others on a more personal basis, he added.

It will be interesting to see what kind of positive affect the Xi-Obama mini-summit might have on governor Li's visit.

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(China Daily USA 06/20/2013 page2)