|Premier Wen calls for further strengthening of China-U.S. relations|
In a speech delivered at a luncheon co-hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and other friendly American organizations, Wen said China-U.S. relations have made significant progress since his first official visit to the United States in 2003.
High-level contacts between the two sides are more frequent than ever before, said Wen, who arrived here Tuesday to attend meetings at the headquarters of the United Nations.
"There are now over 60 dialogue and consultative mechanisms between our two countries. The Strategic Economic Dialogue and the Strategic Dialogue have in particular played an important part in increasing strategic mutual trust between the two sides."
On economic cooperation, Wen noted that China and the United States are now each other's second largest trading partners.
Dialogue and cooperation have also extended to a number of new areas, such as energy resources and climate change, he added.
In addition, China and the United States have maintained communication and coordination on global security issues such as counter-terrorism and non-proliferation and on regional and international hot-spot issues, the Chinese premier said.
The ever-deepening friendship between the two peoples is an integral part of growing relations between the two countries, Wen said.
He also expressed sincere appreciation to the American people from all walks of life for their abiding commitment to China-U.S. friendship and extended heartfelt gratitude to the U.S. government and people for their strong support for China's earthquake relief and efforts in hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
As to the China-U.S. relations after the upcoming U.S. presidential election, Wen said China hopes to maintain and develop the constructive and cooperative relations with the United States whoever becomes the next U.S. president.
China and the United Stated have never enjoyed so extensive common interests as they do today and have worked together to uphold world peace and stability and tackle growing economic and financial challenges, Wen said.
However, "due to differences in social system development level, history and culture, China and the United States may not see eye to eye on certain issues," he said, adding that as long as the two sides engage in dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, they will be able to gradually dispel misgivings and enhance mutual trust.
He said that both the Chinese people and the American people are open, innovative, and eager to learn.
"Two countries that appreciate each other and learn from each other can live together in amity and achieve common progress."
"China's development will not harm anyone, nor will it be a threat to anyone. China has taken an active part in the building of the international system and will not do anything to undermine it. China is a big responsible country," Wen reiterated.
Touching upon the Taiwan question, Wen said, "The question of Taiwan has always been the most sensitive question at the core of China-U.S. relations. History has shown that the smooth development of China-U.S. relations depends, to a great extent, on the proper handling of the Taiwan question.
"We hope the U.S. side will stick to its commitment, adhere to the one China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, and oppose Taiwan independence," he emphasized.
"We hope the United States will support improvement of relations and the realization of common development between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. This serves the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and is conducive to China-U.S. relations and peace in the world."
Wen also took questions after delivering the speech. When asked about China's food safety, he said that the Chinese government has paid great attention to the country's recent infant formula milk power contamination incident and adopted a series of resolute measures to deal with it.
China will take vigorous measures to ensure the quality of products and food safety, Wen said, adding that China's exports will meet both international standards and requirements of importers and China is willing to enhance cooperation with the U.S. in this regard.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Carla A. Hills also made speeches during the luncheon.
They shared the view that enhancing China-U.S. cooperation is vital to the maintaining of world peace and stability and the resolution of many issues facing the world, and the U.S. should continue to maintain engagements and cooperation with China.