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Posted : 2012-02-15 07:40
Updated : 2012-02-15 07:40

China’s next leader starts official US tour

HONG KONG (Yonhap) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, widely touted to be the country's next leader, has arrived in Washington, starting his week-long official visit to the U.S., Beijing officials said Tuesday.

Xi, who arrived in the U.S. capital at around 2:00 p.m. on Monday, issued a written statement upon his arrival, according to China's official government Web site.

"I am pleased that Vice President Joseph Biden invited me on an official visit to the United States," he wrote.

"My visit is to implement the important consensus reached between President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama during President Hu's U.S. visit in January last year, to promote mutual respect, mutual benefits and to build a win-win China-U.S. cooperative partnership."

Xi said China and the U.S. have more extensive common interests and shoulder important common responsibilities as the world continues to undergo complex and profound changes.

"At a turning point in history, the two sides can seize the opportunity to resolve challenges. Building the China-U.S. partnership is related to the future of our two countries and the world," he said.

The Chinese vice president also stressed that despite ups and downs, the 40-year relationship between the two countries continued moving forward, bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the Asia-Pacific region and a positive and far-reaching impact to the world.

Xi will meet Obama at the White House on Tuesday. Meetings with Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and leaders of both houses of Congress are also scheduled.

Xi's trip will set the stage for the highest-level face-to-face discussions between the two superpowers since the change of leadership in North Korea following the death of its long-time leader, Kim Jong-il, in December.

Xi is widely expected to take over as China's leader when Hu steps down later this year.

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