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PD interview with U.S.Vice President Joseph R. Biden

By Wen Xian (People's Daily)

09:45, August 19, 2011

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) holds a welcoming ceremony for U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 18, 2011. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden kicked off visit to China on Aug. 17, 2011. Before his visit, Wen Xian, People’s Daily's resident reporter in the United States had a written interview with Mr. Biden. The following is the content of the interview:

Wen: You said that no bilateral relationship is more important than U.S.-China ties. Would you please elaborate? How do you see the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, with the background of this rapidly changing world?

Biden: When President Obama and I took office, we knew that our relationship with China would be a top priority. We were determined to set the relationship on a stable course that could be sustained for decades. As the President put it, “the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world.” We have pursued an approach toward China that expands areas of practical cooperation, while managing the differences between our two nations. For instance, our countries are working together closely to increase cooperation on a number of pressing global issues, including nonproliferation, economic rebalancing, and climate change. And the U.S. has supported China in having a bigger voice in international institutions, including the G-20, the IMF, and the World Bank.

I’m pleased to say that my visit to China this week is just one in a series of high-level exchanges that have taken place between our governments over the past two years. And it’s these exchanges – along with the establishment of dialogues across all levels of our governments – that have led to some important successes. But there is still much more that we need to do – and this is a shared responsibility.

We are also working to expand people-to-people ties between our two countries, strengthening the true foundation for a solid and stable relationship in the years to come. President Obama and I remain committed to building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship.

Wen: It will be your first visit to China as Vice President of United States and, of course, it will be a very important event for our bilateral relationship. In which way do you think this visit will advance the China-U.S. strategic partnership?

Biden: I am very much looking forward to this visit to China – the first for me as Vice President. My first trip to China was in 1979, as part of a delegation of U.S. senators that met with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. On that trip, I witnessed the changes that were just beginning in China - the start of the “reform and opening” period and of China’s remarkable transformation. This was also the start of a new era in the U.S.-China relationship. These days, high-level interactions such as my visit, President Hu’s January state visit to the United States, President Obama’s 2009 state visit to China, and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue have reinforced a positive context for the U.S.-China relationship and laid the foundation for real progress on common economic and security challenges.

I see my visit as a chance to build on our work so far here. My hope is to not only deepen our relationship with China’s senior leaders, including Vice President Xi, but also to directly engage the Chinese people.

Wen: Mr. Vice President, we know that your niece who graduated from Harvard not too long ago lived in China and is now devoted to making sure the relationship gets better and better .She also studied Chinese. Chinese President Hu Jintao recently met with American students from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School at Zhongnanhai in Beijing and he said youth represent the future of Sino-US relations. What further steps would the Obama Administration take to promote people-to-people exchanges between the United States and China, especially among young people of both countries? And what's your expectation for the 100,000 Strong Initiative?

Biden: There’s no denying that as the ties between our nations have deepened, so have the ties between our people. Last year, over 800,000 Chinese and 2 million Americans traveled between our countries to live, work, study and vacation. And while many Chinese schoolchildren, all over your country, are working hard on their English language skills – some of whom I will have the pleasure to meet when I visit Qingchengshan High School later this week – more and more Americans are choosing Chinese as their second language. This is true in my own family. Several years ago, my niece started studying the language, and now my granddaughter has as well. I’m so proud that they, along with thousands of other young Americans, have already begun to contribute to strengthening the U.S.-China relationship. It’s people-to-people exchanges like these that are a critical component to building a lasting foundation for U.S.-China relations. That’s why I’m so pleased that my daughter-in-law and granddaughter are coming with me to China. It’s an opportunity for me to expose them to China’s great civilization and culture and to the remarkable strides China had made in recent years. We simply cannot underestimate the importance of seeking greater understanding between our two societies – the importance of finding new ways not only of communicating, but of cooperating. I fundamentally believe this is something that is in the best interest of our nations – and the best interest of our people. The more that Chinese and American citizens learn to cooperate and collaborate, the more that China and the United States will be equipped to work together to help solve the global challenges that affect us all.

Programs like the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, led by Secretary Clinton and State Councilor Liu, have already helped to expand opportunities for cultural and education exchange. And the 100,000-Strong Initiative is helping to dramatically increase the number of Americans studying in China. We are also working to increase other educational programs – specifically in the area of science and technology, as well as cultural and sports diplomacy. The same week I am in China, the Georgetown University basketball team will be visiting Beijing and Shanghai. It’s our sincere hope that these initiatives will foster broader and deeper contact between our peoples and raise awareness of the bilateral relationship within both societies.


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