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Xi tells Kissinger China wants 'stable' progress with US

China's President Xi Jinping looks on before to meet with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (not seen) at the Great Halll of the People in Beijing on December 2, 2016. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool Photo via AP)

China's President Xi Jinping looks on before to meet with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (not seen) at the Great Halll of the People in Beijing on December 2, 2016. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping told former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Friday that Beijing hopes for "stable and sustained" progress in ties with the U.S. following last month's American presidential election.

Xi said his government is closely watching post-election developments in the U.S., and now is a "key moment" of political transition.

"Overall, we'd like to see the China-U.S. relationship move ahead in a stable and sustained manner," Xi said in opening comments at a meeting between the two at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of the national legislature in the heart of Beijing.

Xi also noted that he'd recently met with President Barack Obama and held a phone conversation with President-elect Donald Trump.

The 93-year-old Kissinger is a regular visitor to China, where he is deeply respected for laying the groundwork for the normalization of diplomatic ties between Beijing and Washington in the 1970s. The Republican Party elder statesman also met with Trump shortly after the Nov. 8 election and was expected to offer his impressions to Xi and other Chinese leaders.

In his opening remarks, Kissinger thanked Xi for receiving him at a busy time and for Xi's associates' explanation of the Chinese leader's "thinking and the purposes of your long-range policy." Reporters were then ushered out of the room.

Despite Trump's threats to label China a currency manipulator and impose punishing tariffs on Chinese exports, he's been seen by some Chinese political analysts as preferable to Hillary Clinton, who was strongly identified with the American "pivot" to Asia viewed by Beijing as a strategy to hinder its rise to great power status.