BEIJING — Microsoft Corp’s co-founder Bill Gates met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday during his visit to China. The meeting marks Xi’s first meeting with a foreign entrepreneur in recent years.
Describing Bill Gates as “an old friend”, Xi expressed his desire for cooperation that would mutually benefit both China and the U.S., reports Reuters.
During the meeting Xi said he was very happy to see Gates.
“You’re the first American friend I’ve met in Beijing this year,” the Chinese leader said to Gates.
“I always believe that the foundation of the US-China relationship is in the people. I am placing my hope in the American people,” Xi said, according to a broadcast by CCTV.
In January 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $5 million to China to help frontline responders battle the virus.
In a blog post on Friday, Gates said he and Xi had discussed global health and development challenges, such as health inequity and climate change.
“I just had a meeting with President Xi, in which we discussed the importance of addressing global health and development challenges, like health inequity and climate change, and how China can play a role in achieving progress for people everywhere,” Gates wrote.
According to Reuters, the last meeting between Xi and Gates was in 2015, when they met on the sidelines of the Boao forum in Hainan province.
Preceding the much-awaited visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China, Gates’ visit to the country holds significance in the context of stabilizing relations between the world’s largest economies.
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Blinken engaged with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang, who urged the U.S. to refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs and compromising its security, Reuters reported.
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Edited by Daisy Atino and Diane Walsh
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