The man widely expected to become China's next Communist Party leader delivered a major policy address before American business leaders on Wednesday. Ahead of the speech, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden jointly announced progress on a number of key commercial and trade issues between the two countries.
Picked to introduce the man many believe will be China's next leader, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said never has the world faced so many simultaneous challenges.
"Mr. vice president, you come here at a crucial moment," Kissinger said.
Amid such high expectations, China's political heir apparent told American business leaders that the time is ripe for a historical reset in U.S.-China relations. To do that Xi says both sides must invest in trust.
"According to a Chinese saying, without trust, one can achieve nothing. China and the United States have important interwoven interests. For us, strategic trust is a foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation, and greater trust will lead to broader cooperation," Xi said.
But trust is hardly a one way street. Earlier, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the relationship between the two countries will shape the 21st century.
"But cooperation as you and I have spoken about can only be mutually beneficial if the game is fair," Biden said.
Despite ongoing conflicts over trade and a Chinese currency that Western financial experts say remains severely undervalued, Vice President Xi notes that China has taken great pains to accept more exports from the United States. In return, Xi urged the U.S. to ease restrictions on some goods going to China.
"In particular, easing controls on civilian hi-tech exports to China as soon as possible. This will help balance China-U.S. trade, stimulate economic growth and job creation in the United States and improve the balance of U.S. international payments," Xi said.
China is America's second largest trading partner. And in the past two years, U.S. exports to China have more than doubled, even as the U.S. trade deficit continues to widen.
Xi says both sides will continue to work out differences, but where U.S. and Chinese interests converge, Xi insists China be treated as an equal partner.
"China welcomes the constructive role by the United States in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific. At the same time, we hope the United States will respect the interests and concerns of China and other countries in this region," he said.
Despite some tough talk on policy differences, the Chinese leader expressed a deep interest in cultivating American friendship. His next stop is the Midwestern state of Iowa where he plans to reconnect with people he met at a farming community nearly three decades ago.