China expects more economic, sci-tech cooperation with San Francisco, Breed visit sends positive signs for bilateral exchanges

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

A group of 24 US students from Lincoln Middle School and Steilacoom Historical School in Washington set off from San Francisco to begin their trip to China, on March 16, 2024. Photo: IC

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Thursday met with visiting Mayor of San Francisco London Breed, expressing hopes that the mayor’s visit will further boost economic and sci-tech cooperation between the two sides, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Observers said that Breed’s visit has sent a positive signal for promoting local and non-governmental exchanges between China and the US, following the visit of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to China, and they hoped that the momentum would be further extended. 

Recalling it was in San Francisco that the historic China-US summit took place in November 2023, Han said that the US city has a longstanding bond with China and has been at the forefront of California and the US in terms of exchanges with China.

Han said he hoped that Breed’s visit will further promote bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, science and technology; create highlights in jointly meeting climate change challenges; increase personnel and cultural exchanges; enhance the friendship between the two peoples, and promote the sound and steady development of China-US relations.

Breed said that her visit aims to implement the important consensus reached at the San Francisco summit and promote the development of bilateral relations through local and non-governmental exchanges.

San Francisco will continue to strengthen personnel exchanges and practical cooperation with China in various fields, Breed said.

Exchanges at local and non-governmental levels will be conducive to maintaining bilateral ties under a situation in which high-level communication between the two countries is not going smoothly, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Gao said that local exchanges mainly involve personnel and cultural exchanges, and economic and trade cooperation, as both sides have made efforts to bolster cooperation. 

Breed’s visit and interactions with local officials and representatives showed the city’s willingness to advance cooperation with China, demonstrating complementarity and the need for bilateral cooperation, and showcasing a positive significance despite some double-faced practices implemented by the US, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Both Gao and Li highlighted the consolidating cooperation between China and the US at the local level, as these mechanisms have been progressing against the backdrop of some issues that may be affected by geopolitical factors. 

Before heading to Beijing, Breed visited Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province. Mayors from Guangzhou and Shenzhen highlighted the cooperation potential between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the San Francisco Bay Area, due to their rapid economic development and innovative vitality, during their meetings with Breed.  

Shenzhen Mayor Qin Weizhong said that Shenzhen is willing to strengthen cooperation with San Francisco in fields including economic and trade exchanges, technological innovation and emerging industries. 

Breed said that she hoped to step up cooperation with Shenzhen in artificial intelligence, new-energy vehicles, sports and tourism while deepening exchanges between young people from the two cities. 

When meeting Breed on Tuesday, Guangzhou’s Mayor Sun Zhiyang said that the city aims to further strengthen practical exchanges and bilateral cooperation in fields such as the low-carbon economy. 

Despite the US crackdown on China’s high-tech sector, observers said that Breed’s visits to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China’s major tech hubs, showed that the US still seeks to promote cooperation in related fields with China at the local level. 

Cooperation between China and the US will form a rational, win-win situation despite issues that may appear in economic and trade exchanges, which will actually help sort out some of the problems, Li noted. 

Local-level cooperation between the two countries has broad potential with new opportunities benefiting both sides, Li said. 

Breed is visiting China from April 14 to Sunday. During her stay in China, she will celebrate the 45th anniversary of sister city status for San Francisco and Shanghai, the mayor’s office said in response to a Global Times email inquiry. 

“I am honored to be invited to travel to China and meet with leaders in business, innovation and government to cultivate economic opportunities and strengthen ties between San Francisco and cities across the region,” Breed was quoted as saying.