Left to right: Speaker Pro Tem Kris Steele, Oklahoma; Colleen Cousineau, SLC Executive Director; Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Georgia; Yang Jiemian, Ph.D., President, Shanghai Institute for International Studies; Senator William Wampler, Virginia; Senate President Pro Tempore-Elect Paul Bookout, Arkansas; and Sujit CanagaRetna, SLC Senior Fiscal Analyst
Delegation of Southern State Legislators Travel to China for Second Consecutive Year
A delegation of legislators from The Council of State Governments’ Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), recently traveled to China for the second consecutive year. As in 2009, the 2010 SLC delegation’s visit to China was sponsored by the Hong-Kong-based China-U.S. Exchange Foundation and organized by The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). Both the Foundation and the Association seek to bolster links between China and the United States by promoting a deeper understanding of the environmental, economic, social and political developments in both China and the United States. China also has emerged as a critical trading partner in all the Southern states, reinforcing the need for a more comprehensive appreciation of the economic dynamics of states in the SLC and the different provinces in China.
The 2010 SLC delegation to China comprised Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Georgia, delegation leader; President Pro Tempore-Elect Paul Bookout, Arkansas; Speaker Pro Tem Kris Steele, Oklahoma; and Senator William Wampler, Virginia. Colleen Cousineau, SLC executive director, and Sujit CanagaRetna, SLC senior fiscal analyst, staffed the delegation.
Day 1 (Sunday)
- The delegation toured Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and received briefings on the sites by a representative of the CPAFFC.
- The delegation was hosted to a welcome dinner and banquet by representatives of the CPAFFC and the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation.
Day 2 (Monday)
- The delegation’s appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing consisted of an economic and political briefing by Robert Goldberg, Deputy Chief of Mission; Joe L. Sepulveda, Second Secretary for Environment, Science, Technology and Health; Jeffrey D. Horwitz, Deputy Chief for Policy Analysis and Economic Affairs; Candy Green, External Unit Chief of the Economic Section; Keith M. Anderson, Deputy Chief, Political Section; and Patrick Chen, Vice Chief, Section of Renewable Energy and New Materials.
- The delegation proceeded to Beijing Central Rail Station to board a high-speed rail train to Tianjin, which reached a top speed of 328 kilometers per hour (or 203 miles per hour). In Tianjin, delegation members met with officials of the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area’s (TEDA) Investment Promotion Bureau, one of the major economic development zones in China. A number of foreign businesses operate in the TEDA including American companies such as Motorola, Tyco, IBM, Pepsi and Honeywell. TEDA officials provided a briefing on the evolution, progress and future plans of the Area.
- The delegation was hosted to a banquet dinner in Beijing by Ms. Clarie Lo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation.
Day 3 (Tuesday)
- During the morning period, the delegation visited the Chinese Ministry of Railways in Beijing for a detailed briefing of China’s high-speed rail plans and efforts. This briefing was led by Mr. Zheng Jian, Chief Planner, Ministry of Railways; Mr. Liu Lianqing, Director General and Senior Engineer, U.S. Railway Project Working Group, Ministry of Railways; and Mr. Weng Jiayu, Assistant Director General, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Railways.
- In the afternoon, the delegation travelled to Tianpu in the outskirts of Beijing to tour the Tianpu Solar Energy Group. The company is a major manufacturer of various solar power related items including water heaters, photo voltaic panels, flash lights and other renewable energy components.
- The delegation returned to Beijing to the headquarters of the CPAFFC for a banquet dinner hosted by Mr. Zhou Wenzhong, Vice President, China-U.S. Peoples Friendship Association and former Chinese Ambassador to the United States.
Day 4 (Wednesday)
- In the morning session, the delegation toured the Great Wall of China, one of the ancient wonders of the world.
- In the afternoon, the delegation flew to Shanghai. After landing at Shanghai International Airport, the delegation rode the Maglev train to Longyang Road station in Pudong, a distance of 30 kilometers, or 18.6 miles. While the Maglev train can reach a maximum operating speed of 431 kilometers per hour (268 miles per hour), during the SLC delegation’s ride, the train reached a speed of 301 kilometers per hour, or 187 miles per hour.
- During the evening, the delegation attended a traditional Chinese acrobatics show.
Day 5 (Thursday)
- The delegation visited the 2010 World Expo grounds to tour a number of the pavilions. The U.S. Department of State provided the SLC delegation with VIP access to the United States pavilion, including a special guided tour and introductions while the CPAFFC arranged for VIP access to the China pavilion. Coincidentally, the day the SLC delegation visited the World Expo was also the day that the 2010 Expo attendance record was established with 631,000 visitors touring the Expo site’s extensive grounds.
Day 6 (Friday)
- For the second consecutive year, the SLC delegation met with Dr. Yang Jiemian, President of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies. The Institute, founded in 1960, is a think tank covering international relations between China and the rest of the world. Discussions between the SLC delegation and Dr. Jiemian covered a broad range of topics of bilateral interest.