| Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong(R) is welcomed by John Kitzhaber, governor of Oregon state at the airport of Portland, the United States, April 15, 2011. (Xinhua/Qi Heng)
PORTLAND, the United States, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong met with the governor of Oregon and other state officials Friday, giving a boost to the state's ties with China.
During the meetings, Liu noted that Oregon made many firsts and has always been a frontrunner in relations with China.
Oregon established the first Confucius Classroom program in the United States in 2008. Last year, the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill to make the instruction of Mandarin Chinese available to all public schools, the first such legislation by any U.S. state.
"You are leading the United States and the world in terms of the teaching of the Chinese language," Liu said in her speech at a luncheon banquet hosted by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The Chinese and American peoples are more and more willing to learn each other's language and understand each other's national conditions, history and culture, Liu said, adding that friendly interactions between the two countries are strengthening.
"This will solidify public support for bilateral relations, and will provide a strong and enduring driving force for our relations," Liu said.
The state councilor on Friday attended the inauguration ceremony of 12 new Confucius Classrooms in Oregon, which was billed by Kitzhaber as the largest number of Confucius Classrooms established in the United States at one time.
"As a state, we want to make sure that current and future generations of Oregonians have the opportunities to better understand Chinese people, their culture, community and perspectives," Kitzhaber said.
Oregon values its strong ties with China, the governor said, noting that China has become the state's most important trading partner over the last decade. He said there are still many opportunities for his state to boost cooperation with China in the future.
"We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship," he said.
In addition to Kitzhaber, Liu on Friday met with leaders of the Oregon Senate and House. She also visited Nike headquarters and Intel's semiconductor research, development and manufacturing center.
Oregon was the last stop on Liu's April 10-16 visit to the United States. She co-chaired with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the second annual high-level China-U.S. consultation on people-to-people exchanges during her trip.