Xi meets Alaska Governor in surprise visit

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, April 8 (IANS) Chinese President Xi Jinping met Alaska's Governor Bill Walker as he made a surprise visit to the US state before taking to the skies again in his Boeing 747 for the journey back to Beijing.

Xi stopped in Alaska for a refuelling stop following his meeting with President Donald Trump on Friday in Florida, reported Alaska Dispatch News.

Walker welcomed Xi during a ceremony on the tarmac at Alaska's Anchorage airport. They then set off on a short sightseeing tour of Anchorage.

China's President was accompanied by "more than a dozen of his ministers and directors," according to a statement from Walker's office.

Walker and Xi also held a brief session in public, a slightly longer private meeting and then had dinner at a downtown Anchorage hotel.

Aside from Governor Bill Walker and his wife Donna, Alaska guests included Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and his wife Toni and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and his wife Mara Kimmel.

The Governor used his brief time with Xi to make a strong pitch for a gas export project and acknowledged China's status as the state's largest trade partner, said the report.

Xi assured Walker that China's government is paying close attention to trade and liquefied natural gas resources in Alaska.

The Chinese President suggested that the two sides should further cooperate in industries of mineral, oil, gas, fishery and tourism, initiate more exchanges in winter sports and enhance friendship among the people.

Earlier on Thursday and Friday, Xi had the first face-to-face meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"The meeting with President Trump was a huge success. Consensus has been reached on multiple fronts and positive outcomes have been achieved," Xi said.

"The purpose of the meeting with Trump was to set the direction for China-US relations in the new era and expand pragmatic cooperation in a wide range of fields," Xi added.