Opinion / China Daily Bureau Chiefs

Xi’s visit brings Chongqing, America closer

By Tan Yingzi (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-09-30 16:17

Xi’s visit brings Chongqing, America closer

 Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with tech executives at 8th US-China Internet Industry Forum in Seattle, Sept 23, 2015. [Photo by Lao Jiang/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

On September 22, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seattle, Washington to kick off his state visit to the United States. As a Chongqing local, I have special feelings for this US coastal city.

I first heard about the city of Seattle when I was in the primary school. As a member of the school drum band, I played the drum at the school gate to welcome the guests from Seattle, a sister city of my hometown. The two cities built the relationship on June 3, 1983.

It was also the first time I had ever met a foreigner. They looked so friendly, smiling and waving at us.

Though having no idea about the city except the name, I have felt a strange sense of closeness with Seattle since then.

In the summer of 2012, I finally got a chance to visit my sister city as a tourist. I found that, surprisingly, its hilly landscape looked so familiar, just like Chongqing.

Chongqing, as the war-time capital of China during World War II, has had a long history with the United States.

Most American visitors will go to the Flying Tigers Museum and the US General Joseph Stiwell Museum, which house the memories of how Chinese and American people fought together against the Japanese invaders.

But in the past, the trade and cultural exchanges between Chongqing and America were still limited due to Chongqing’s inland location.

In recent years, thanks to China’s Go West plan, the municipality has seen its economy develop at a fast pace with a double digit growth rate, which has attracted much attention from foreign investors.

In 2008, Hewlett-Packard, a California-based global computer behemoth, set up shop in Chongqing, followed by other counterparts such as Acer Inc, Asus, Toshiba Corp and Sony Corp.

Now, the city has become a global giant in making laptop computers. In 2014, it manufactured 64 million computers, 40 percent of world production.

In May 2011, the Golden State of California opened its trade office in Chongqing to help expand trade and increase cultural and education exchanges between the two cities.

“California's HP has set up a global computer production center in Chongqing, where further cooperation in the IT industry can be expected,” said President Xi during his speech at the Third US-China Governors Forum during his trip in Seattle.

Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan, who successfully persuaded HP to build a manufacturing base in his city, also attended the forum.

After China launched the Road and Belt Initiatives last year, Chongqing has risen in prominence due to its strategic position as a gateway to the wild west.

This state visit is a great opportunity to bring new life to the relationship between the municipality and the United States.

Xi’s Seattle speech about Chongqing is a good sign. And my fondness of Seattle has increased again.

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