Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping has called for mutual understanding and friendship between the youths of China and the United States.
Xi made the remarks Friday during a visit to the International Studies Learning Center, a public school featuring foreign language and cultural studies, in South Gate, southeast of Los Angeles.
Xi and his entourage were greeted by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and a traditional Chinese drum performance and a dragon dance by students at the door of the school.
Xi and Biden then had a warm discussion with a class of standard Chinese-speaking students.
When asked about his hobbies, Xi said he likes reading, swimming and watching basketball, baseball and American football games. Swimming is his favorite sport, he said.
“Of course we always want more time for ourselves,” Xi said in Chinese.
“But to borrow a title from an American film, it’s like ‘Mission Impossible,'” he joked. The room burst into laughter.
Both Xi and Biden were presented T-shirts by the students. The shirt Xi received said “fostering goodwill between America and China” in English, while Biden’s shirt said in Chinese that the China-U.S. friendship lasts forever.
Xi lauded the students’ standard Chinese skills and encouraged them to learn the Chinese language, history and culture to enhance spiritual communication and exchanges with youngsters from China.
“Young people are the future of a nation,” Xi said, “Education is the foundation of a country.”
He said it was an essential part of his U.S. visit to have conversations with students and promote mutual understanding and friendship among the young generation of the two countries.
“This school visit can be called a finishing touch to my U.S. visit,” Xi said.
Xi said the United States has a well-developed education system and that education in China has made great process. The two countries should enhance cooperation in the sector to cultivate talent for the development of both nations and for the China-U.S. friendly cooperation.
Biden said he and U.S. President Barack Obama believe that one of the most significant factors in improving U.S.-China relations is increasing educational opportunities for American students in China.
The International Studies Learning Center was created by the Asia Society nearly a decade ago. The school’s mission is to prepare students to be globally competent and ready for college and the interconnected world beyond.
Los Angeles was the last leg of Xi’s five-day official visit to the United States. He left Friday night for Ireland for visit after watching a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns.