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UPDATED: February 20, 2012 NO.8 FEBRUARY 23, 2012
Valentine's Across the Pacific

As couples the world over celebrated Valentine's Day on February 14 with gifts and showings of affection, visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and his host U.S. President Barack Obama reassured each other of the importance of the relationship between the largest developing country and the biggest developed nation.

Xi's trip overlaps the celebration of the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's icebreaking visit to China and the issuing of the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972.

These historic events opened the gate for communication and exchange, and broke down the wall of confrontation in favor of one geared toward cooperation. The two countries also made a profound contribution to remodeling the international political landscape.

In the past four decades, China and the United States have reaped remarkable fruits in politics, trade, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges. The progress achieved in developing bilateral ties has far exceeded even the most optimistic expectation.

Now, it is the time for the two nations to fine-tune the tone of their bilateral ties. This year is an election year in the United States. It will also witness the 18th congress of the ruling Communist Party of China this fall in Beijing. Xi's state visit to the United States offers a peek into the course of bilateral ties in the next decade.

Besides meeting political and military figures in Washington, D.C., the Chinese vice president also visited the state of Iowa and Los Angeles in California to attend a number of activities. A fact sheet on strengthening bilateral economic relations was released when Xi was in Los Angeles and the business delegation accompanying Xi purchased U.S. commodities worth $27.1 billion.

Although highlighting the economic and trade progress between the two sides, we must admit that trade frictions and difference can hardly be avoided. But China has taken active steps to meet U.S. concerns over protection of intellectual property rights and the trade imbalance, and we hope the United States will make progress in easing restrictions on hi-tech exports to China and Chinese investment in the United States. If we can only buy soybeans and Boeing aircraft from the U.S. side, the trade imbalance between the two sides can hardly be addressed.

China and the United States also face the task of building political and military mutual trust, as uncertainties exist. The two nations have different views on regional and hot-spot issues, let alone their stands on the Taiwan question, Korean Peninsula and the Middle East. They need to tackle these problems constructively and strategically.

At his meeting with Obama, Xi said he is confident that China and the United States have the wisdom, ability and measures to maintain and advance their partnership. Obama said it is vital that the United States has a strong relationship with China. We believe these commitments are not only reserved for the likes of Valentine's Day.

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