Chinese President Xi Jinping met Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates here on Friday, and said the latter was his “first American friend I’ve met in Beijing this year”.

Xi applauded Gates and the Gates Foundation for their long-term work to promote poverty reduction, health, development, and philanthropy around the world, reports Xinhua news agency.

“At present, momentous changes unseen in a century are accelerating across the world. I put forward the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative to provide Chinese solutions to global challenges,” he said.

The President said that China is a large country with a population of over 1.4 billion, and its “long-term stability and sustained development are major contributions to world peace, stability, and prosperity”.

“China will consolidate its achievements in poverty alleviation, realize rural revitalization, and constantly improve rural health,” Xi said.

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He said that China is ready to carry out extensive cooperation with all countries on scientific and technological innovation, will continue to strengthen cooperation with the Gates Foundation in relevant fields, and will provide support and assistance to other developing countries within its capacity, he said.

“The foundation of China-US relations lies in the people. We have always placed our hope on the American people and wish all the best for the friendship between the two peoples,” Xi said.

Gates spoke about the progress of cooperation with China and his vision for the future.

He said that China has made remarkable achievements in poverty reduction and Covid-19 response, setting a good example for the world.

He said that in recent years, the Gates Foundation’s cooperation with China has made remarkable progress and that accelerating innovation and development in the country is good for Beijing, developing countries, and the world.

“The Gates Foundation is committed to strengthening cooperation with China in the fields of innovation, global poverty reduction, public health, research and development of drugs, rural areas, and agriculture, and spreading successful practices and technologies to other developing countries,” the billionaire added.