Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R front) chairs a roundtable on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Sept. 19, 2016. [Photo / Xinhua]
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has just wound up his visit to the United Nations headquarters here in a fruitful diplomatic package which included attending the UN General Assembly, the UN conferences on refugees, immigration and on sustainable development.
On the sidelines of the UN meetings, Li held talks with the UN secretary general and foreign leaders. Meanwhile, Li interacted with American business, media and strategic think tank personalities.
Li unveiled China's latest proposals on key global issues including development and refugees. His New York tour also displayed China's outlook for the China-U.S. relations while assuring the world of China's determination to maintain steady economic growth and seek greater integration with the world economy.
LI'S UN DEBUT
The first visit to the UN headquarters by Li as Chinese premier was marked with great success and important achievements.
During his attendance of the UN meetings, Li put forward laudable proposals concerning some of the most pressing challenges facing the world, while stressing peace and development as key to addressing the challenges.
On the refugee and immigration issue which is haunting many parts of the world, the Chinese premier announced a 100 million U.S. dollar additional humanitarian aid by Beijing to help solve the refugee crisis in some parts of the world, as well as help tap the massive movement of migrants. The aid, which is on top of China's previous pledges, would go to some relevant countries and international organizations.
While chairing a roundtable on the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN, Li said that China has pledged additional 100 million dollars in annual aid to UN development agencies by 2020 on top of the amount in 2015.
He also announced that China's donation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will reach 18 million dollars in next three years.
On the sidelines of a series of UN conferences, Li met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and held talks with leaders of the United States, France, New Zealand and Pakistan.
The topics of the talks ranged from the issue of development and climate change, to situation on the Korean Peninsula, China's continuous support for the United Nations, its Charter, and its role in international affairs and safeguarding world peace and development, global economic recovery and China's engagement with other countries in economic cooperation and regional economic integration through the Belt and Road Initiative.
During his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Sept. 19, Li called upon China and the United States to step up efforts to promote economic and trade ties between the two countries.
Li urged the two sides to work together to ensure an early conclusion of negotiations on a China-U.S. bilateral investment treaty, expanding market access to each other, and creating better business environment and better cooperation prospect for enterprises from both sides.
While meeting with French President Francois Hollande on Sept. 20, Li and the French leader pledged to ensure a smooth implementation of Britain's Hinkley Point nuclear power plant project, and to enhance cooperation in third-party markets.
Li met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sept. 21 morning, noting that pragmatic cooperation between the two countries, featured by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has made positive progress. Li hopes the two sides can jointly implement the planning and construction of the Corridor and advance cooperation that serves public welfare and livelihood so as to benefit the two peoples.
INTERACTION WITH BUSINESSES, LOCAL PERSONALITIES
Among the most covered events during his visit were the Chinese premier's close face-to-face interactions with local business circles, prominent personalities and media, including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"It is a fact that China and the United States have both stable political relations and very close economic and trade cooperation," Li told his audience during one of the meetings, which were seen as one of the most important interactions between a Chinese leader and American business people, media personalities and strategic analysts.
Acknowledging that it is unavoidable for the two countries to differ in certain areas due to different cultural backgrounds and national conditions, Li stressed the two sides should focus on mainstream and the general direction of bilateral ties.
When addressing a welcoming dinner party organized by the Economic Club of New York on Sept. 20, the premier said frictions represent only a minor part in China-U.S. economic relations, calling upon the two sides to expand common interest and properly handle differences.
During a question-and-answer session, Li said he was told by some friends that "it's not the right time" for him to visit the United States because the election campaigns are very tense now.
Recalling his U.S. visit and trips to the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic parties in the 1980s, Li said if he was now asked which candidate he likes, he would give the same answer that no matter who becomes the next president, he believes the China-U.S. relationship would certainly have a better future.
Li also suggested that the key to increasing mutual trust and dispelling misunderstandings between the two sides is to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and candid communication. Last year, more than 2.6 million Chinese tourists visited the United States, and the number of Chinese students studying here have reached 600,000.