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Xi Jinping: I Have Hope in the American People

Chinese President Xi Jinping met Bill Gates, co-founder of computer software, Microsoft. Old friends, as Xi called Gates. So through him, Xi hopes that the two of them can carry out joint actions that are beneficial to both China and the US. 

This is Xi’s first meeting with a foreign businessman in several years. Xi stated that he was happy to meet again after a three-year lapse after the Covid-19 pandemic. He described Gates as the first American friend he had met this year. 

“I have often said, the foundation of US-China relations lies in the people, the citizens. I have my hopes in the American people,” Xi said in a video published by state television, CCTV , Friday (16/6/2023). 

According to Xi, together, everything can be resolved. ”With the current global situation, we can carry out various activities that benefit the two countries and their people. Activities that are in favor of humanity as a whole.”

During his meeting with Gates, Xi claimed China would not follow the old path of becoming a powerful nation that embodies hegemony. On the contrary, according to the People’s Daily newspaper , China wants to work with other countries to bring about mutual progress. 

On the other hand, China often accuses the US of wanting hegemony over other countries. Outside of his meeting with Xi, Gates delivered a speech at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute regarding the need for technology to solve global health challenges.

Gates, who arrived in Beijing last Wednesday (14/6/2023), told Xi that he was honored to have the opportunity to meet. “We always have great conversations. Many topics of conversation were discussed,”said Gates. 

Xi stopped traveling abroad for almost three years, following his government’s decision to close its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After the restrictions were lifted, most of his meetings were with state leaders. 

A number of corporate CEOs visited China earlier this year but mostly met officials under Xi, namely his cabinet ministers. Xi and Gates’ last meeting took place in 2015. They met on the sidelines of the Boao forum in Hainan Province. 

Early 2020, Xi wrote a letter to Gates, thanking him for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s promise of aid to China. At that time the aid promised included $5 million to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s leadership board in 2020. Now his focus is on charities related to global health, education and climate change.

Currently, the business community is being cautious because of the increasing tension in China-US relations and China’s increasing attention to national security issues. Gates’ presence is in the midst of Foreign Minister Antony Blinken’s plans to visit China. 

This visit seeks to stabilize relations between the two rivals and the world’s economic powers. Blinken held a telephone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Wednesday. Qin urged the US to stop disturbing relations between the two countries and harassing China’s security. 

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