BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping called Bill Gates an “old friend” and said he hoped they could cooperate in a way that would benefit both China and the United States during the first Xi’s meeting with a foreign entrepreneur for years.
During a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, where Chinese leaders traditionally receive high-level foreign visitors, Xi said he was very happy to see the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist again. after three years, and that Gates was the first American friend he had met. This year.
“I often say that the foundation of US-China relations rests with its people. I place my hopes in the American people,” Xi said in a video posted by state broadcaster CCTV.
“With the current world situation, we can carry out various activities beneficial to our two countries and our people, activities that benefit mankind as a whole,” he said.
Gates, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, said he was “honoured” to have the chance to meet. “We’ve always had good conversations and we’ll have a lot of important topics to discuss today…it’s very exciting to be back.”
In a post on his personal blog, Gates said he and Xi discussed global health and development challenges such as health inequalities and climate change.
Xi stopped traveling abroad for nearly three years as China closed its borders during the coronavirus pandemic and his international meetings since the reopening have mostly been with other heads of state.
A number of CEOs have visited China since it reopened earlier this year, but most have met with government ministers.
Gates left Microsoft’s board in 2020 to focus on philanthropy in global health, education and climate change.
The last reported encounter between Xi and Gates was in 2015, when they met on the sidelines of the Boao forum in Hainan province. In early 2020, Xi wrote to Gates thanking him and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for pledging aid to China, including $5 million for its fight against COVID-19.
Xi also discussed the global rise of artificial intelligence (AI) with Bill Gates and said he wants US companies including Microsoft to bring their AI technology to China, two sources close to the sources said. talks.
One of the sources said they also discussed Microsoft’s business development in China.
DO NOT PURSUE HEGEMONY
The foreign business community’s mood toward China has grown more cautious as Sino-US tensions escalate and Xi increases China’s focus on national security.
Gates’ visit comes ahead of a long-delayed trip to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed at stabilizing relations between the world’s two largest economies and their strategic rivals.
On Wednesday, Blinken had a tense call with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, during which Qin urged the United States to stop meddling in his business and undermining his security.
During his meeting with Gates, Xi said China would not follow the old path of a “strong country striving for hegemony” but would work with other countries to achieve common development, according to the Daily. People. China often accuses the United States of seeking hegemony.
In addition to meeting Xi, Gates delivered a speech at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute on the need to use technology to solve global health issues during his visit.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Beijing municipal government, which founded the institute with Tsinghua University, have also pledged to provide $50 million each to build the institute’s drug discovery capacity.
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