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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Chinese VP starts U.S. tour while world watches

By Wu Liming and Bai Jie (Xinhua)

15:36, February 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the world is watching, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping started his five-day official visit to the United States Monday.

Xi arrived in the afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington as a guest of his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden.

He was greeted by senior U.S. officials, including Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke.

In a written statement issued upon his arrival at the airport, Xi said the purpose of his visit is to implement the important consensus reached by President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama during Hu's visit to the United States in January last year and to advance the Sino-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

"I have brought with me the sincere greetings of President Hu Jintao and the Chinese people to the American people," he said.

Forty years ago, Xi continued, thanks to the joint efforts of the older generation of Chinese and American leaders, exchanges between the two countries were taken up again, marked by then U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to China and the issuance of the Shanghai Communique.

In a somewhat symbolic gesture, Xi met in the evening with several former senior U.S. officials, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former National Security Advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, and former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

During the meeting, Xi's first major event on his first day in Washington, the Chinese vice president spoke highly of their contributions to boosting Sino-U.S. relations.

Among others, Kissinger's first tour to China in July 1971 paved the way for a groundbreaking 1972 summit meeting in Beijing between then U.S. President Nixon and China's late Chairman Mao Zedong.

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