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President meets 'old friend' in Beijing

By Wu Jiao and Pu Zhendong (China Daily)

08:21, April 16, 2013

Chinese President Xi Jinping poses for a group photo with Chinese and US governors at the the second China-US governors' forum in Beijing, April 15, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

Xi stresses provincial-level exchanges during meeting with US governors

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad renewed his decades-long friendship with President Xi Jinping when they met in Beijing on Monday, for the fifth time.

Calling Xi "my old friend" and shaking his hand warmly, the 67-year-old said it is exciting to celebrate Iowa's 30 years of being a sister state with Hebei province and to see the great advance in Iowa's agricultural cooperation with China.

Iowa and Hebei province became sisters in 1983, and in 1985 Xi, then a county-level government head in the province, visited Iowa for agricultural projects and met Branstad for the first time.

Their friendship has witnessed the long-term communication between Chinese provinces and municipalities and their counterparts in the United States.

Xi, who has always stressed Sino-US provincial and city-level exchanges with his rich working experience in local governments in China, told his guests that such cooperation between the two countries has seen "unprecedented good momentum".

China and the US complement each other in terms of trade and economies - with abundant personnel and cultural exchanges - and all these can enrich and vitalize local cooperation between the two nations, Xi said.

Branstad is joined on his visit by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell for the second China-US Governors Forum scheduled for Monday in Beijing and Tuesday in Tianjin.

The forum was set up in 2011 during former president Hu Jintao's visit to Washington.

When it was first held in the US in July that year it saw the two sides sign more than 20 cooperation agreements on trade, energy, science and technology, and environmental protection, with a total value of about $3 billion.

The forum now serves as a major platform for strengthening local cooperation between the two countries.

The US-based National Governors Association said it highlights the forum for the promotion of "peer-to-peer exchanges between US governors and Chinese provincial leaders on topics of mutual interest," among other things.

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