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Xi Jinping wants China to be a proud nation: Gary Locke

Ambassador Gary Locke

(Want China Times) – Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to the United States will likely see China’s president discuss with President Obama issues such as green energy, preventing the spread of AIDS and other diseases, and a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) as the two countries seek to expand cooperation.

The meeting between Xi and Obama will be significant, the former US ambassador to China, Gary Locke, has said in an interview with US-based Chinese newspaper US China Press.

The upcoming meeting, the second time Xi has visited Obama in the US as president, though it is his first full state visit, is a significant opportunity for the two countries to improve diplomatic relations, said Locke, who stepped down as the US envoy to Beijing last year.

Locke said that ever since Nixon visited China in 1972 and paved the way for America’s diplomatic recognition of the PRC in 1979, relations between the US and China have become stronger. He said he expected to see increasing exchanges in areas such as science, business and official cooperation in the future.

Locke also said that he was pleased Xi will be visiting the state of Washington, where he was governor between 1997 and 2005. “If I have the chance to meet with him again, I will tell him that two countries need to work together in many areas of global issues, such as the end of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the deterrence of the global terrorism, the prevention of spreading diseases, the medication of cancer and other scientific researching. The progress and the development of these areas are all depended on how China and the US work with each other,” he said.

“If you look at just how far China has become since diplomatic relations were established between United States with China… it’s miraculous. It’s the biggest transformation of any society in the world and what is the world’s oldest civilization and it’s also the most modern civilization. So that’s a great accomplishment of all the Chinese leaders and including President Xi,” Locke said.

Locke said the economies of the US and China are closely intertwined. While China has been the factory for consumer products purchased in the US for many years, the rising consumer class in China means trade and travel opportunities in the opposite direction, with Chinese tourists coming to the United States and buying American goods. Therefore, American people want to see China prosper, Locke said.

Locke, the first Chinese American to serve as the US ambassador to China, said he shares President Xi’s objective of increasing prosperity for the people of his country. What China has achieved in the past few decades in raising the standard of living makes him proud as a Chinese American, he said.

Xi has a tough job in trying to bring about a number of highly significant reforms at the same time, Locke said, adding that despite the overall growth in the standard of living, many people in rural areas still live below the poverty line without basic amenities.

“He is very confident, very down-to-earth,” Locke said of his impression of China’s president. Locke said he met Xi several times while he was vice president, recalling in particular meeting the future president in Hungary around 2009-2010 and by chance stayed in the same hotel when Locke was vacationing with his wife and Xi as vice president was on a visit to Europe. “We had a great conversation for about half hour in his hotel room. He was very kind, very hospitable, very welcoming,” Locke said.

Locke said Xi has a great track record serving at various levels in different capacities in several parts of China. He has a clear goal and vision for the future of China and he wants China to be a proud nation, Locke said.

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