Economic engagement highlighted during Xi's first stop in U.S.

Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his trip to Seattle Thursday, the first stop in his first state visit to the United States, which has been focused on building stronger economic links and closer business cooperation between the world's two largest economies.

Stepping up local-level cooperation and people-to-people exchanges has also been high on the agenda.

Xi's itinerary in the West Coast technology and aviation hub in Washington State from Tuesday to Thursday included meeting government and business leaders, addressing forums between governors and between CEOs from the two countries, and visiting Microsoft campus, Boeing's main airplane assembly plant and a high school.

More importantly, the president delivered a policy speech at a welcoming banquet hosted by the local government of Washington State and American friendly groups Tuesday evening, in which Xi expounded on his suggestions to build a new model of major-country relationship and also candidly responded to the concerns of the international community about China, such as the slowing economy and cyber issues.

Xi flew to Washington D.C. Thursday to continue his U.S. visit.


It is widely believed that Seattle was chosen as the first stop of Xi's U.S. visit because it showcases the strong economic and people-to-people engagement between the two countries.

On the day Xi arrived in Seattle, a group of Chinese companies signed deals with Boeing to buy 300 aircraft.

A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle and the broader Washington State have long enjoyed robust economic links and close people-to-people ties with China. Nicknamed "The Emerald City," Seattle hosted Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao over the past several decades.

During his stay in Seattle, the president stressed that China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature.

The American businesses that operate in China and cooperate with Chinese counterparts have played a positive role in China's development and, by harvesting generous profits at the same time, helped boost the American economy, Xi said.

"We support large American businesses in setting up regional headquarters or research and development centers in China, and encourage more small- and medium-sized companies to expand businesses in China. Meanwhile, China will keep increasing its investment in the United States," he said.

Xi called on China and the United States to enhance local-level cooperation and tap the potential of their complementary advantages.

For example, Xi said, the state of Washington, rich in experiences in environmental and coastal protection, can cooperate with Chinese provinces which are making large investment in this respect.

On people-to-people exchanges, Xi announced at the banquet that China supports the initiative of sending a total of 50,000 Chinese and American students to study in each other's countries over the next three years, saying the two countries will launch a China-U.S. Year of Tourism in 2016.

"China on its part will create more favorable conditions for closer people-to-people exchanges," he stressed.


To allay the concerns of international investors over China's current economic situation, Xi expounded on the government's policies ranging from economic reform to stock market and RMB exchange rates.

"The trend of China's economy toward growth and expansion has not changed," Xi said. "China's economic fundamentals remain solid and will continue to maintain a long-term steady growth at a medium-to-high speed."

The president noted that the key to China's development lies in reform and China will never close its open door to the outside world.

"We have the resolve and the guts to press ahead and take reform forward. We will stick to the direction of market economy reform," he said.

On Aug. 11, China moved to improve its RMB central parity quotation mechanism, giving the market a greater role in determining the exchange rate.

"Given the economic and financial situation at home and abroad, there is no basis for continuous depreciation of the RMB," Xi stressed. "We are against competitive depreciation or a currency war. We will not lower the RMB exchange rate to stimulate export."


Speaking at the welcoming banquet, Xi said that building a new model of major-country relationship, featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, is the priority of China's foreign policy.

Xi called on the world's two largest economies to read each other's strategic intentions correctly and manage their differences properly and effectively.

As part of his suggestions on building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States, Xi also proposed that the two countries unswervingly boost win-win cooperation and extensively foster friendship between the two peoples.

"We want to see more understanding and trust, less estrangement and suspicion, in order to forestall misunderstanding and miscalculation," the president told the welcoming banquet.

"There is no such things as the so-called Thucydides trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves," he said.

"If China and the United States cooperate well, they can become a bedrock of global stability and a booster of world peace," he said. "Should they enter into conflict or confrontation, it would lead to disaster for both countries and the world at large."


China is a staunch defender of cyber security and also a victim of hacking, Xi said.

"The Chinese government will not, in whatever form, engage in commercial theft or encourage or support such attempts by anyone," he said, noting that both commercial cyber theft and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with law and relevant international treaties.

"The international community should, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust, work together to build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space," he said.

"China is ready to set up a high-level joint dialogue mechanism with the United States on fighting cyber crime," he added.

Source: Xinhua