Chinese president meets U.S. secretary of state

President Xi Jinping on Saturday met with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss bilateral ties and issues of common concern.

Xi first recalled Kerry's last visit to China as chairman of the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee in May 2009.

Xi described Kerry as a veteran U.S. statesman, adding that he appreciates Kerry's commitment to developing U.S.-China ties.

Kerry is the second U.S. Cabinet member Xi has met since becoming president in March, following U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who visited Beijing in March.

"These meetings have reflected the great importance both China and the United States have placed on bilateral ties," Xi said. Xi said China-U.S. relations are on a good footing.

Xi recalled a telephone discussion with U.S. President Barack Obama on the day Xi was elected, saying they reaffirmed their commitment to developing China-U.S. relations.

Xi said he expects Kerry's visit, his first to China since taking office in February, will maintain momentum for the development of bilateral relations.

"This is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues," Kerry told Xi. "Issues regarding the Korean peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world are in need of a boost."

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also held talks with Kerry during his visit. China is the second leg of Kerry's four-day east Asia tour, which has also taken him to the Republic of Korea. He will fly to Japan on Sunday.

Philippines News agency