Bill Gates Meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing


During a high-profile meeting in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his gratitude to his "old friend" Bill Gates for his continuous support, as the Microsoft co-founder's foundation pledged a substantial $50 million to assist China in its ongoing battle against diseases. Gates, renowned as one of the wealthiest individuals globally, is the latest in a series of prominent Western business leaders to visit China following the country's relaxation of strict COVID-19 controls that had effectively sealed its borders for nearly three years.

This visit marks Gates' first trip to China in four years and notably includes a rare face-to-face discussion between the Chinese head of state and a foreign business leader. President Xi warmly greeted Gates, stating, "You are the first American friend I have met in Beijing this year." He went on to emphasize China's unwavering faith in the American people and the desire for continued friendship between the two nations, as reported by the state-run People's Daily.

Gates reciprocated the sentiment, expressing his deep appreciation for the opportunity to meet with President Xi. "We've always had great conversations, and we'll have a lot of important topics to discuss today," he remarked in a recording shared by state broadcaster CCTV. Gates expressed his disappointment at not being able to visit China in the past four years, making his return all the more exciting.

The meeting holds significance as it comes ahead of an anticipated visit to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday. During the visit, both countries are expected to engage in discussions regarding China-US relations, as well as major international and regional issues of mutual interest. In response to the impending visit, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin affirmed that China would assert its position and concerns, resolutely safeguarding its interests.

The meeting between Xi and Gates also coincided with an announcement made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation declared its commitment to providing $50 million in support of Chinese efforts to combat malaria and tuberculosis. The collaboration will primarily focus on enhancing health outcomes worldwide by delivering life-saving therapies for infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis and malaria, which disproportionately affect the most impoverished regions. The Gates Foundation commended China for its endeavors in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, setting an admirable example for the global community.

Previously, Gates delivered a speech at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI) in Beijing, applauding China's progress in eradicating malaria and reducing poverty. He expressed optimism that China could play a more significant role in addressing current challenges, particularly in African countries. Gates' last visit to China in 2019 involved discussions with First Lady Peng Liyuan regarding the foundation's work in HIV/AIDS prevention. In a previous visit in 2018, he famously highlighted the shortage of toilets in the developing world by displaying a jar of human waste at a forum in Beijing.

The visit by Bill Gates aligns with a trend of American business leaders traveling to China, highlighting their optimism about the vast market opportunities and strong trade ties between the two economic powerhouses. Prominent figures such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Apple CEO Tim Cook have all made visits to China, emphasizing their companies' symbiotic relationships with the country and expressing their belief in the potential for further growth and cooperation.

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