SAN FRANCISCO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The governor of U.S. northwest state of Alaska on Monday reaffirmed the state's strong ties with China, which he said offer "all the tools" the state needs for "a diverse economy."
In a signed article posted Monday by the online edition of Alaska newspaper the Juneau Empire, Governor Bill Walker said Alaska already has "a strong, longstanding trade relationship with China, which has purchased more from Alaska than any country for the past several years."
Citing his trip to China last week when he led a delegation of 40 Alaska business leaders, he said the trade mission "met with existing business partners, forged links with new ones, improved government to government relationships, and found ways to grow economic opportunities at home and abroad."
During the China tour, he said, Alaska seafood companies have successfully promoted the "unparalleled quality" of Alaska wild-caught seafood to customers in China, where a growing middle class supports a market with great potential.
The Chinese people expressed their strong interest in wild Alaska fish and vegetables from which baby food is made, he said.
Walker stressed that Alaska has unique experiences of tourism for Chinese visitors, who he said are interested in going to Alaska in winter to see the northern lights, ski and to simply experience the state's vast, open wilderness that "stands in stark contrast to life in urban China."
He said he has worked hard to push for direct Alaska-China flights "that will improve both tourism and cargo capacity for what Alaska offers."
Walker said Alaska's trade mission to China has born fruits as a trade delegation from China's northeastern city of Harbin has toured Anchorage for business opportunities.
Moreover, Chinese athletes will likely go to Alaska to train for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Anchorage as set out in an agreement between Heilongjiang Province in northeast China and Alaska Pacific University, he said.
Walker said his China tour was an opportunity for Alaska's products and experiences to be recognized internationally.