Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met here Tuesday with a group of leading figures in the U.S. financial, think-tank and media circles to discuss bilateral ties and issues of common concern.
Among the 17 attendants were former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, Chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group Stephen Schwarzman, President of Columbia University Lee C. Bollinger, and PBS host and journalist Charlie Rose.
"It is a fact that China and the United States have both stable political relations and very close economic and trade cooperation," Li said in his opening remarks at the closed-door talks.
"I was told that, for every second, one Chinese customer buys an iPhone," said the Chinese premier, who is here for a series of UN conferences.
Noting that the band of "old friends" and "new friends" is of great representativeness and influence, Li said he is very happy to have this opportunity to exchange views with them on China-U.S. ties and other issues of common concern.
It's both in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and conducive to world peace, development and prosperity for China and the United States, the largest developing country and the most advanced developed economy, to maintain stable political ties and a close economic relationship, said Li.
Acknowledging that it is unavoidable for the two countries to differ in certain areas due to different cultural backgrounds and national conditions, Li stressed the two sides should focus on mainstream and the general direction of bilateral ties.
"Though China-U.S. relationship has been through ups and downs in the past nearly four decades since the establishment of diplomatic ties, it has always turned out fine, just like the sky clearing up after rains," said Li. He also expressed the hope that those present at the meeting could help further promote the two nations' relationship with concrete actions.
Stressing that China will continue with its opening-up policy, Li said Beijing will work even harder to streamline the administration, delegate more power to lower levels, and protect intellectual property rights so as to create a better and more convenient business environment.
"China-U.S. investment cooperation enjoys great potential, and I believe the U.S. enterprises will see an ever-expanding market in China as well," the Chinese premier said.
The negotiation for the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) sends a clear signal to companies from both countries that mutual investment is good and stable, he said.
Li also said he hoped that the United States could relax export restrictions on hi-tech products and that the two countries could reach a mutually beneficial BIT at an early date.
On big data and cloud computing, Li said these emerging industries have seen fast development in China.
"Though they have brought some information security problems, they are conducive to China's transition and development," he said.
"China's big data and cloud computing industries should be open and secure," and China will join foreign firms in search for a cooperation pattern that is both pro-opening-up and pro-security, Li said.
Calling the current anti-globalization trend "only a setback during the process of globalization," Li said the world needs to fix the flaws of globalization, instead of simply giving it up.
He also said that China, as a firm defender of free trade, will continue to promote free trade within the Word Trade Organization framework.
The U.S. participants agreed that China-U.S. relations are one of the most important bilateral ties in the world. As both countries share extensive common interests and have a strong willingness to develop ties, the two sides should enhance cooperation in areas including politics, economics and trade, and people-to-people exchanges so as to build a robust and close bilateral relationship.
The attendants spoke highly of the reform measures put forward by the Chinese government, saying they are ready to take part in those reforms and further expand cooperation with China in hope of contributing more to the development of bilateral ties.
The gathering came one day after the Chinese premier met in New York with U.S. President Barack Obama. In that meeting, Li called for concerted efforts to promote economic and trade ties between the world's top two economies.
Enhancing China-U.S. cooperation accords with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the shared hope of the international community, he said, expressing China's willingness to deepen bilateral, regional and global cooperation in a variety of fields.
Obama, for his part, reiterated that his country supports China's reform process and hoped that the two sides can make further progress in BIT talks.
Li is scheduled to attend the general debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday before heading to Canada to continue his America trip, which will also take him to Cuba.