The summit meeting between President Xi Jinping and United States President Joe Biden last week in San Francisco was "a highlight in the China-U.S. relationship this year, a milestone in the history of bilateral relations, and a major event in international relations", said Beijing's top envoy in Washington.
The meeting was "of special significance, producing fruitful outcomes and attracting worldwide attention", Xie Feng, Chinese ambassador to the U.S., said at the 7th Annual Gala of the China General Chamber of Commerce USA-Chicago on Monday.
Xie said that during the visit, he witnessed how the two presidents "set the direction for China-U.S. relations at this critical moment, sensed the eagerness of both peoples for greater exchanges and cooperation, and also felt more acutely the extensive common interests between our two countries and the profound public support for China-U.S. friendship".
The annual gala, which had the theme "Let's move forward", was attended by nearly 700 people, including members of Congress, governors, mayors, former officials, business leaders and experts and scholars from the U.S., as well as representatives of Chinese-funded institutions and companies.
Xie said the visit by Xi "helped to put in place the pillars for China-U.S. relations, fostered a future-oriented San Francisco vision, reached important deliverables in multiple areas, and renewed the goodwill between the two peoples".
President Xi pointed out that for China and the U.S., turning their back on each other "is not an option", Xie recalled, noting that Xi also said: "It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. Any conflict and confrontation would have unbearable consequences for both sides. The right approach is to respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation."
The Chinese ambassador said that "the journey from Bali to San Francisco has not been an easy one. But San Francisco should not be the finish line. President Xi emphasized that China and the U.S. need to jointly develop a right perception toward each other, jointly manage disagreements effectively, jointly advance mutually beneficial cooperation, jointly shoulder responsibilities as major countries, and jointly promote people-to-people exchanges.
"These are the five pillars that have laid out a road map for the sound, steady and sustained growth of China-U.S. relations," Xie said.
The ambassador emphasized that China-U.S. relations have never been smooth sailing, and the two nations still face many difficulties and challenges.
"The two sides need to rise to the challenges and act on the important common understandings reached in San Francisco," he said. They also need to "follow the rules and bring bilateral economic relations back to the right track, and bring out the vitality and foster closer ties between the peoples and at the subnational level".
Furthermore, Xie said that "it is important to translate the commitments into concrete policies and real actions, so as to turn the San Francisco vision into reality and further improve China-U.S. relations. It is important to avoid backpedaling, still less, saying one thing but doing another."
At the gala, Xie also presented the U.S.-China Friendship Envoy Award to former U.S. ambassador to China Max Baucus.
In a video speech sent to the gala, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said the bilateral relationship is "more stable and there's certainly better communication between our governments".
"That doesn't mean that the relationship is not competitive, because it still is," Burns added. "And it doesn't mean that we don't have major differences, because we do, across the board. But it does mean that we're better connected and therefore better able to manage these differences responsibly. And in my world of diplomacy, that's progress."
The China General Chamber of Commerce USA-Chicago is the largest group supporting Chinese businesses in the Midwest, with more than 260 members and partners. The Midwest region exported more than $20 billion worth of goods to China last year, according to the association.