BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Finland before he heads to Florida in the United States for a China-U.S. presidents' meeting next week, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced Thursday.
"At the invitation of President Sauli Niinisto of the Republic of Finland and President Donald Trump of the United States of America, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Finland from April 4 to 6, and he will meet with President Trump at Mar-a-lago, Florida in the United States from April 6 to 7," Lu announced at a daily press briefing.
Xi's visit to Finland will be his first trip to a European Union member state this year, and also his first visit to northern Europe as president, Lu said.
"This shows the importance China attaches to a future-oriented new type of partnership with Finland, and support for the EU," the spokesperson said.
Finland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, and the first Western nation to sign an inter-governmental trade agreement with China, Lu said.
"We expect the visit will achieve remarkable results, further strengthen political trust and substantial cooperation in various areas to inject new vitality to China-Finland relations," he said.
Commenting on a question about China-U.S. trade links, Lu said the two countries' trade and economies are highly complementary.
"China hopes to make joint efforts with the United States to expand trade cooperation, properly settle trade frictions through dialogue, and maintain healthy and stable growth of trade and economic ties," said Lu.
China-U.S. trade in goods amounted to 519.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, an increase of 207 times compared with that of 1979, when the two countries set up diplomatic ties, according to Lu.
Lu hailed the growth of China-U.S. trade and economic ties since the forging of diplomatic ties 38 years ago, adding it had brought concrete benefits to the two countries' business sectors and consumers.
Currently, China is the fastest-growing export market of the United States besides north America, he said.
Considering the trade imbalances between both countries, Lu said 40 percent of China's trade surplus with the United States came from U.S. companies in China.
According to statistics from the U.S.-China Business Council, two-way trade and mutual investment in 2015 had created 2.6 million jobs for the United States. U.S.-China trade ties could save 850 U.S. dollars for each American family every year, he said.
China has also benefited a lot from its trade cooperation with the United States, Lu said, adding China's great achievements profited from its cooperation with countries around the world, including the United States.
The efficient way to benefit both peoples is to make a larger "cake" of shared interests, rather than a "more for you, less for me" distribution pattern, Lu said.
The meeting between Xi and Trump will be the first since Trump assumed office in January.
"Xi's visit is of great historical significance to the development of China-U.S. ties, as the two heads of state will chart the direction of the relationship from the top level, sending a positive signal to the world," said Su Ge, head of the China Institute of International Studies.
"Cooperation is the only way forward, and the two countries' common interests far outweigh their differences," Su added.
Trump sent a letter to President Xi on Feb. 8 ahead of China's Lantern Festival, saying that he looked forward to working with China to develop a constructive relationship.
Two days later, in the Xi-Trump phone conversation on Feb. 10, Trump said the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy.
"Despite Trump's earlier remarks challenging the one-China policy, he has now realized the importance of sticking to this policy, which is the cornerstone of China-U.S. ties," Su said.
Top diplomats of the two countries, including Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, exchanged visits in late February and earlier in March, paving the way for the meeting between the two presidents.