BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Vice President Xi Jinping met with visiting former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing on Monday, speaking highly of the veteran's remarkable contributions in building and promoting China-U.S. relations.
"Over the past four decades, Dr. Kissinger, as a pioneer of China-U.S. relations, have travelled back and forth across the Pacific dozens of times," Xi said during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People.
"You have set up good working relations and personal friendships with several generations of Chinese leaders, and made great contributions toward improving and developing China-U.S. relations," Xi said.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Kissinger's first "secret" visit to China.
In July of 1971, Kissinger, as national security advisor to then-U.S. President Richard Nixon, secretly flew to Beijing from Pakistan. His visit paved the way for a groundbreaking 1972 summit in Beijing between Nixon and the late Chairman Mao Zedong. This summit eventually led to the normalization of U.S.-China relations.
"The Chinese people will never forget the historic achievements you have made together with Chinese leaders from older generations," Xi said.
Kissinger said he has been glad to see sound growth in U.S.-China relations in past years.
"I have worked with four generations of Chinese leaders and eight U.S. presidents to promote relations between our two countries," said the 88-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
He told Xi the U.S. side is determined to cooperate with China to build a stronger cooperative partnership, adding that he will stay focused on boosting U.S.-China relations and make his own contributions to this end.
Xi said that President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States in January of this year ushered in a new era for China-U.S. relations.
Kissinger agreed that Hu's visit was of fundamental importance in charting the future of relations between the two countries.
"As we face a dramatically changing world, win-win cooperation should be the essential feature of China-U.S. relations," Xi said.
"Cooperation benefits both, while contention hurts both," he said, adding that China and the United States should bear in mind their common interests as they map out the long-term development of their relations.
Xi urged both countries to maintain close high-level exchanges, enhance win-win cooperation and strategic trust and seek common ground while putting aside differences.
He hopes both sides will properly handle their differences on sensitive issues and cement cultural exchanges and friendship in order to boost the growth of the China-U.S. cooperative partnership.
Kissinger was invited to Beijing by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs to attend the Second Global Think Tank Summit, which was held in the city on Saturday and Sunday.