Vice-President Xi Jinping has told his US counterpart, Joe Biden, that the two countries should work to strengthen their relationship because they are 'in the same boat'.
In a phone conversation on Tuesday ahead of his highly anticipated five-day visit to the United States next week, Xi said said he aimed to advance common ground between the presidents of their respective nations and promote Sino-US co-operation on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocity, according to a statement posted yesterday on the Foreign Ministry's website.
'I look forward to conducting extensive and in-depth discussions with the US side on bilateral issues and other major issues to consolidate the consensus,' Xi said. 'We hope we can convey a positive message that China and the US will stick to the principle of showing mutual support to people in the same boat and strengthen co-operation.'
Xi, who is widely expected to succeed President Hu Jintao after a party reorganisation this autumn, plans to visit Washington, Iowa and Los Angeles during his trip. He said he hoped to meet Americans from all walks of life and to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two sides.
For his part, Biden said he and US President Barack Obama are looking forward to receiving Xi, and expect the two sides to have in-depth discussions on various issues.
He said Xi's visit would illustrate pragmatic achievements of the partnership between the two countries as well as the development prospects going forward.
The bilateral relationship is significant not only to the two countries, but also to world peace, Biden added.
Xi will have talks with Obama and Biden on Valentine's Day, before heading to Muscatine, Iowa, where he plans to see people he met on his last visit 27 years ago, when he was a provincial official in Hebei .
In a speech delivered last month at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of then US president Richard Nixon's ground-breaking trip to China, Xi said both countries should ensure their shared interests do not succomb to diplomatic friction, and their commitment to developing a stronger relationshipshould never waver in the face of a changing international situation.
The central government and state media have not offered many details of Xi's itinerary, triggering concerns that Beijing wants to keep the visit low profile.
Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said in a speech delivered on Monday that both countries are suffering from a 'trust deficit' and that Xi's trip could help ease the problem.