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Previous Visits
Special> Hu's Visit to the United States> Previous Visits
UPDATED: September 22, 2009 NO. 38 SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
A Bountiful Visit
Top lawmaker Wu Bangguo conveys Chinese public opinion to the United States

HI-TECH SHOW: Wu Bangguo (second from left), Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, visits aerospace manufacturer Honeywell in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 6 (MA ZHANCHENG)

Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 6 after visiting Cuba and the Bahamas. During his weeklong stay in the United States, Wu had a packed schedule meeting with U.S. lawmakers, while delivering speeches and visiting private sector companies.

He also visited Alaska and held a meeting with Governor Sean Parnell before winding up his U.S. trip.

Both the NPC and the U.S. Congress play a crucial role in the political affairs of their respective countries, Wu said while meeting with his U.S. host and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

His visit was aimed at helping parliaments of the two countries upgrade their ties to become "constructive forces" in promoting Sino-U.S. relations, he added.

Wu also met with other leading American political figures including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They discussed issues ranging from trade to the financial crisis and climate change. He is the first top Chinese lawmaker to visit the United States in the past two decades.

Wu showed U.S. officials the Chinese people's confidence about the future development of China-U.S. relations, according to Zhu Feng, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University.

Exchanges between the NPC and the U.S. Congress should continue to make headway, he noted, not only because they serve as an important channel of communication, but also because dialogue between representatives of the people can help enhance the two nations' mutual understanding.

In recent years, the NPC has established regular exchange mechanisms with both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States. To date, it has held 10 meetings with the former, and four with the latter. In May, Pelosi visited China and met with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao.

In fact, the U.S. Congress has put many strains on China-U.S. relations over the past three decades, said Sun Zhe, a senior fellow at the Center for U.S.-China Relations at Tsinghua University.

For example, he noted, U.S. lawmakers passed the Taiwan Relations Act to interfere with China's internal affairs in 1979, the same year the two countries established diplomatic relations. Congress also called for sanctions against China in 1989. In the late 1990s, meanwhile, it aired a heated debate on whether to allow China entry into the World Trade Organization.

In this context, the institutionalization of regular exchanges between the NPC and the U.S. Congress—and, in particular, the exchange of visits by Wu and Pelosi this year—have signified a new beginning of China-U.S. parliamentary exchanges, Sun said.

Meanwhile, Zhu pointed out that economic and trade cooperation was a highlight of Wu's U.S. tour. Against the backdrop of the economic crisis, he said, China and the United States can work together to help restore world economic growth by making the most of the potential for their cooperation.

At the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held in Phoenix during Wu's visit, Chinese and U.S. companies signed 41 agreements and contracts on investment and economic and technological cooperation worth $12.38 billion, covering areas such as new energy, raw materials, telecommunications, electronics, machinery and tourism.

Overall, more than 150 U.S. entrepreneurs took part in the forum, along with more than 200 Chinese business leaders.

The general trend of Sino-U.S. economic and trade cooperation should not change because of the international financial crisis, Wu said at the opening ceremony of the forum. In addition, the two countries' economic stimulus plans have created new business opportunities, he said.

Their economic restructuring, he added, would help broaden the scope of a China-U.S. partnership. A low-carbon economy, renewable energy, clean energy, clean coal, carbon capture and storage, smart power grids, energy-efficient buildings and new energy vehicles are expected to become new areas of growth in China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation.

According to Chinese statistics, two-way trade between China and the United States reached $333.74 billion in 2008, making the two countries each other's second biggest trade partners. To date, America has invested more than $61 billion in more than 57,000 projects in China.

The United States is also China's biggest technology provider. The two countries signed 888 contracts on technology transfers worth $3.26 billion from January to July this year, accounting for 25.3 percent of the total value of the technology transfer contracts China concluded during the seven months.

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