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China’s VP Xi Jinping on last leg of US trip

Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping is in California for business talks on the last leg of his US visit.

China’s leader-in-waiting arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday from Iowa.

He met Governor Jerry Brown, toured a shipping terminal at the port and is scheduled to watch an NBA basketball game on Friday.

He began his week-long trip in Washington DC, meeting President Barack Obama at the White House and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

On Friday, he is also expected to attend an economic forum and announce a deal for DreamWorks Animation to build and operate a studio in Shanghai, the AFP news agency reported.

He toured China Shipping at the Los Angeles Port with Mr Brown and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“When I heard that this is an environmentally friendly green port, I felt that this was a major achievement,” Mr Xi said. “This is a solid foundation for future US-China trade and economic co-operation.”

Mr Xi, 58, is widely expected to succeed China’s President Hu Jintao, who must retire as head of the Communist Party later this year and from the presidency in 2013.

He made the closely-watched trip as the guest of US Vice-President Joe Biden, who made a high-profile visit to China in August last year.

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Who is Xi Jinping?

  • China’s likely next leader, expected to lead the country from 2013
  • Currently China’s vice-president and vice chair of the Central Military Commission (which controls the army)
  • Son of Xi Zhongxun, one of the Communist Party’s founding fathers
  • Joined the party in 1974
  • His wife, singer Peng Liyuan, describes him as frugal, hardworking and down-to-earth

Speaking to business leaders in Washington, Mr Xi called for both countries to “reduce misunderstandings and suspicion” via closer communication.

Relations between the two nations, he said, were at a “new historical starting point”, Mr Xi said, stressing that their intertwined interests were an “unstoppable river that keeps surging ahead”.

He also addressed key economic, security and human rights issues that have upped tension in the delicate relationship between the two nations.

While admitting that there was “room for improvement” on human rights, he defended his country’s record, saying that China had ”made tremendous and well-recognised achievements in the field” in the last 30 years.

‘Handsome older man’

The visit is as much about US-Chinese relations as it is about Mr Xi himself, says the BBC’s Kim Ghattas in Washington, it is a way for him to show how he performs on the world.

In the US, Mr Xi also showed a softer side of during a visit to Iowa, where he re-visited Muscatine – the same city he visited as a 31-year old county official in 1985.

In Iowa, he met residents who met him on his first visit to the US, visited a farm and climbed onto a tractor.

“I thought he was a very nice, focussed, polite man,” Eleanor Dvorchak, who hosted Mr Xi at her home during his stay, told the BBC.

“A handsome young man, and now he’s a handsome older man. It was a pleasure to have him at the house.”

Mr Xi is also scheduled to visit Ireland and Turkey following the US trip.

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Posted by on Feb 17 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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