Bill Gates met with Xi Jinping in Beijing seeking common goals to bring the United States and China closer

Bill Gates met with Xi Jinping in Beijing

Xi Jinping called Bill Gates an “old friend” and said he hoped they could carry out activities beneficial to both China and the United States together, in the Chinese president’s first meeting with a foreign businessman in years.

Gathering at Beijing’s Diaoyutai Guest House, where Chinese leaders have historically hosted high-profile foreign guests, Xi told the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist that he was very glad to see him after three years, describing Gates as the first American friend I had met this year.

“I often say that the basis of relations between China and the US is in its people. I put my hopes in the American people, ”Xi said in a video published by state-run CCTV.

“With the current world situation, we can carry out various beneficial activities for our two countries and peoples, activities that benefit humanity as a whole,” he said.

Gates, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, told Xi he was “honoured” to have the opportunity to meet. “We have always had great conversations and today we will have many important topics to discuss. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t come in the last four years, so it’s very exciting to be back.”

Xi stopped traveling abroad for nearly three years as China closed its borders during the pandemic, and his international meetings since reopening have been mostly with other state leaders. Reuters was the first to report plans for his meeting with Gates.

Several chief executives have visited China since it reopened earlier this year, but most have met with government ministers.

Gates left Microsoft’s board in 2020 to focus on philanthropy related to global health, education and climate change.

The last known meeting between Xi and Gates was in 2015, when they met on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in Hainan province. In early 2020, Xi wrote a letter to Gates thanking him and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their pledge of aid to China, including $5 million for the country’s fight against COVID-19.

Don’t chase hegemony

The foreign business community’s mood toward China has turned cautious as tensions between China and the United States escalate and Xi increases the country’s focus on national security.

Gates’ visit comes ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s long-delayed visit to China, aimed at stabilizing relations between the world’s two largest economies and strategic rivals.

Blinken held a tense call with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Wednesday, during which the Asian urged the United States to stop meddling in his affairs and harming his security.

During his meeting with Gates, Xi said China would not follow the old path of “strong country seeking hegemony” but would work with other countries for common development, according to People’s Daily. China often accuses the United States of seeking hegemony.

In addition to meeting Xi, Gates delivered a speech at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute on the need to use technology to solve global health challenges during his visit.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Beijing municipal government, which founded the institute with Tsinghua University, also pledged $50 million each to bolster the institute’s drug discovery capacity.