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English>>Foreign Affairs

Interview: Xi pays very significant visit to U.S. at very significant time: U.S. Congressman

(Xinhua)    19:28, September 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the United Statesis very significant and timely, as it provides opportunity for the leaders of the two great powers to talk about very important issues, U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen told Xinhua in an interview.

"I think it's a very significant visit that President Xi is making at a very significant time," said Larsen, a House Representative from the state of Washington.

The Congressman was commenting on the Sept. 22-25 state visit that Xi will make to the United States, the first since he took office in 2013.

"State visits are important, not just for the symbolism of the visit, but because you are gonna have two presidents with two very aggressive agendas having opportunity to talk one on one about these very important issues," Larsen said.


Larsen, also co-chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group in U.S. Congress, described the U.S.-China relationship as "a story of hopes and hurdles."

He noted that there are a lot of hopes now as the two countries continue to work together on major global issues like climate change and Xi has vowed to continue with economic reforms.

However, Larsen noted that the two countries also face some hurdles in their relationship, including cyber security and the South China Seaissue.

Larsen said that the two leaders "need to have enough of a relationship to be able to talk frankly about the challenges" that the countries face together.


Xi will start his U.S. tour in Seattle of Washington, Larsen's home state, where Xi will meet with members of Congress from Washington state, local officials, top U.S. executives and local Chinese Americans. Larsen will be among the guests invited to a banquet attended by Xi.

Asked what he would tell Xi when they meet, Larsen said he would encourage China to continue its economic reforms and take further steps to fight climate change.

Larsen saluted Washington state's "long history" of trade and economic ties with China, as demonstrated by the fact that it has the oldest state-based China Relations Council in the United States.

Larsen said he expected that Xi will see some of the products made in Washington state that consumers in China use, including those from Boeing and Microsoft, which are leading companies in the state.

The congressman also commended Xi's plans to visit areas out of Seattle during his stay in Washington state so to get "a broader view of the relationship" between China and Washington state.


Asked to name the major achievements of the U.S.-China joint efforts to build a new model of major-country relationship, Larsen highlighted the cooperation on fighting climate change, as shown in a joint statement announced after a meeting between Xi and U.S. President Barack Obamain Beijing last November.

"I think the announcement cleared some of the global resistance to other countries taking steps what they need to do to combat climate change," Larsen said.

He said he hoped to hear what the next step the two sides will take on fighting climate change at the upcoming Xi-Obama summit.

"Two largest economies in the world, two largest energy users in the world, we both have our issues to address on climate change," Larsen said.

The next major achievement, he added, could be the bilateral investment treaty (BIT), which is under intense negotiations between the two sides.

The BIT is "an important tool" for both countries to enhance trade and economic ties, and will encourage China to continue the policy of opening up and economic reforms, Larsen said.


Talking about the U.S.-China Working Group, Larsen said part of its job is to continuously educate newer members of Congress about the various aspects of the U.S.-China relationship.

It often brings U.S. and Chinese experts on China, as well as Chinese officials, to the Capitol Hill to talk to members of Congress about China so that they can increase understanding of China.

The bipartisan group also organizes visits to China by members of Congress to learn about the country.

Larsen, who has already visited China for nine times, said that he hoped to continue the exchanges but the challenge is on the U.S. side because "there's concern that visiting China somehow tags a member of Congress being friendly to China."

But he stressed that he believes it is in the U.S. interest to engage with China and seek partnerships with China.

On the fluctuation of the U.S.-China relationship, Larsen said it is normal just like the U.S. stock market.

"It goes up and down all the time, but over time it slowly goes up. And you have to, I think, understand that sometimes the relationship is going to be down and sometimes it's going to be up," Larsen said.

"Not get too focused on the ups and downs and continue pushing forward, so that the relationship always gets enhanced," he added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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