PRESIDENT XI: (Via interpreter) Mr. Secretary, I want to welcome you to China. It is a great pleasure to see you again. I remember your last visit to China was in your capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in May of 2009, and we met during that visit.
I want to take this opportunity to express my congratulations to you on being appointed to this very important position. You are a senior political leader in the United States and you have been committed to enhancing the United States relations with China when you were a senator and now as the U.S. Secretary of State. I want to express my appreciation of your efforts.
Mr. Secretary, you are the second U.S. cabinet member that I met in one month as Chinese President, and not long ago I met with the visiting Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. I believe these exchanges show we both recognize the importance of China-U.S. relations and pay high attention to the further growth of China-U.S. ties.
The current China-U.S. relationship is at a new historical stage and has got off to a good start. On the very day I was elected Chinese President, I talked on the phone with President Barack Obama, during which the two sides reaffirmed our commitment to developing the cooperative partnership and building a new type of major country relations between the two countries. And this has reaffirmed the strategic nature and the direction of development of China-U.S. relations.
I believe your visit to China this time will give a boost to the positive momentum of China-U.S. relations.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Mr. President, thank you very, very much. Thank you for receiving me. Thank you for the generous reception of your time. Minister Wang Yi and I had a very productive morning, and I’ll have a chance to meet with the Premier a little later, and then subsequently my friend Yang Jiechi and I will spend some time together this evening. So I thank you for your government’s representation.
If I can just answer your comments quickly by saying, first, President Obama sends his greetings, and he and I share the hope that this can be even a further definition of the model relationship which you have often talked about. And may I also extend to you from President Obama and the American people our congratulations to you on the assumption of your new responsibilities and your new government.
Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues, issues on the Korean peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria, the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost. So I think that we’re meeting at a very, very key time, and I very much look forward to our discussion about how you see your vision of a stronger partnership with the United States taking shape. We are very anxious to fill that out and to have that discussion today, and I look forward through the rest of our afternoon to being able to really understand the roadmap ahead, the one that you envision and the one that hopefully we can contribute to.
So thank you for welcoming me here, and I appreciate the opportunity to have this kind of frank discussion with you.