Saturday, 8 June 2013

Xi-Obama summit aims to boost ties, aspirations between China and USA



Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front) shakes hands with US President Barack Obama at the Annenberg Retreat, California, the United States, June 7, 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, met Friday to exchange views on major issues of common concern. Photo: Xinhua



Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st R) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama (1st L) at the Annenberg Retreat, California, the United States, June 7, 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, met Friday to exchange views on major issues of common concern. Photo: Xinhua

Southern California residents are preparing a warm welcome for presidents of the world's two largest economies ahead of their two-day summit at Sunnylands. Anticipation is high for closer Sino-US ties that will help people from both countries pursue their own dreams.

"I'm glad that both presidents will come. I'm sure once they see Sunnylands, they'll want to see it again," John Benoit, chair of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, said of the exclusive Rancho Mirage estate.

Benoit, a local highway patrol commander during the late 1980s when then-President Ronald Reagan regularly visited Sunnylands for New Year's Eve, told the Global Times he was eager to see the winter retreat formerly owned by late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg become the "Camp Davis of the West Coast" ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit.

"People in the world all dream about having a better life for themselves and their children," said Benoit, whose father's cousin was a priest in China during the 1940s. Benoit said that both the American and Chinese dreams have their own obstacles and opportunities, adding American people "have more challenges today than in the past."

John Harley, who works at a Riverside County-based company that grows and sells grapes, noted people from China and the US share common aspirations. "We're all people, and we all desire the same things: happiness, love and family," he said.

Harley told the Global Times that his company, which exports grapes to Shanghai and Hong Kong, posts an annual revenue of $15 million. "I see this business growing over the next decade. The better the relationship between the two governments, the better it is for our businesses."

Edward Chenghua Cai, president of the Southern California Chinese-American Federation, noted some Chinese-Americans had flocked to Rancho Mirage two days ahead of the private summit, which begins Friday, to express their hopes for deeper ties.

Wai-Jen Jeffries, president of the US National Organization of Chinese Women, told the Global Times she has personally known Xi for over two decades, having met the president during his visit to the US as  Party chief of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, in the 1990s.

"He's very easygoing and not interested in formalities at all. He calls me 'elder sister' every time I see him," she said of Xi. "I'm sure the two presidents' pragmatism will strike up the two countries' ties and bring people on both sides more benefits."

By Xu Yan and Sun Weichi in Rancho Mirage Global Times