Beijing: A 74-year-old American woman, whose has been friends with China`s new leader Xi Jinping for nearly three decades, feels "very excited" about China`s new leadership, which she believes will foster stronger ties with the US.
Sarah Lande from Muscatine, Iowa, was one of the host families in 1985 when Xi visited the US as part of a delegation to learn about agricultural techniques in Iowa, China Daily reported.
The 59-year-old Xi was elected the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) along with an all-powerful seven-member Standing Committee of the new Political Bureau.
Lande was also closely watching the transition develop at the CPC National Congress.
"I believe it is an exciting time for him and for China. I believe he is the type of person that will foster a stronger relationship with the US," Lande told China Daily.
Recalling the meeting with Xi in 1985, Lande said: "It turned out to be a good meeting. It seemed like the friendship struck."
During Xi`s week-long visit to the US this February, he stopped in Muscatine to visit Lande`s house, where 17 friends he met during the 1985 visit were invited.
Lande said Xi`s effort to reunite with them "meant the world" to her.
"He wouldn`t have needed to do that (to come to visit us)," she said.
"He laughed and remembered the times, and he truly seemed like a warm, caring, listening person who could tell stories. He is a personal person you like," Lande said.
"We were mystified why we made such an impression and were also figuring if we had this honour of having him again. We as a community will really work hard to try to be an example of how to further that relationship between the two countries," she said.
Lande said Xi "cares about his people".
"He is a listener and he has had the confidence of being who he is. He is also wise to the challenges that China faces and realizes there might be step-by-step changes and also step-by-step relationship building (with the US)," she was quoted as saying.