Vice-President urges respect of China's interests

WASHINGTON - Vice-President Xi Jinping urged the United States to respect the interests and concerns of China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Addressing a lunch reception with a speech about China's policy Wednesday, Xi said "as the interests of China and the United States converge most closely in the Asia-Pacific than anywhere else, this region should naturally become an important area where China and the United States engage in positive interactions and pursue mutually beneficial cooperation".

The luncheon was co-hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council. Hundreds of business leaders, policymakers, heads of cultural and civic organisations, current and former American government officials as well as Chinese officials were in attendance.

"China welcomes a constructive role with the United States in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific," Xi said.

He said China and the United States should meet challenges together and share responsibilities in international affairs.

China and the US should steadily enhance coordination and cooperation on international affairs and regional issues, he said.

"Our world is undergoing complex and profound changes. China and the United States should meet challenges together and share responsibilities in international affairs," said Xi. "This is what the China-US cooperative partnership calls for and what the international community expects from us."

He urged the US to work with China on the nuclear arms issues in the Korean peninsula, Iran's own nuclear capabilities and other issues through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. He also called for increasing cooperation on issues such as climate change, counter-terrorism, cyber security, outer space security, energy and resources, public health, food security and disaster prevention and mitigation.

Xi said China and the US must continue dialogue and exchanges on human rights.

Xi said given the differences in national conditions and in the historical and cultural background between the two countries, "it is only natural that we have some differences on the issue of human rights".

Yet history shows that the cause of human rights has been a process of continuous improvement, he said.

"China and the United States should continue dialogue and exchanges to implement the consensus reached between our two presidents on respecting each other's development paths chosen in light of their national conditions, and improve the cause of human rights in both countries," Xi said.

Xi urged the United States to respect China's core interests and major concerns, especially on Taiwan and Tibet.

China hopes that the United States adheres to the three Sino-US joint communiques, the "One China" policy, opposes Taiwan independence and supports the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

He said China hopes the United States will truly honour its commitment of recognising Tibet as part of China and opposing Tibet independence, and will handle Tibet-related issues in a prudent and proper manner.

On behalf of US President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, Henry Kissinger made the welcome remarks at the luncheon.

As the two largest economies in the world, China-US relations have never been more important, he said.

He added the prosperity of the people in China and in the US will be affected by how effectively China and the US work together in the years ahead.

"The US and China will succeed by working together, and delivering strong, sustainable and balanced growth," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Xi went to Capitol Hill and met top US congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. A number of other senators and representatives were also present.

AFP reported that Xi received a polite welcome from US politicians on Capitol Hill despite tensions over certain issues. Politico, a popular political journalism organisation based in Washington DC, quoted Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), in describing Xi as a "good listener".