Apple CEO Tim Cook talks science, education with China's vice premier

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Apple chief executive Tim Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong on Tuesday in Beijing, the latest in a string of meetings between Cook and high-level Chinese leaders as the company looks to expand sales and operations in the world's most populous nation.

Liu — the highest-ranking woman in the Chinese government — praised Apple for its "business development in China and its active cooperation with China in science, technology, education and other fields," according to state-run news agency Xinhua. Apple manufactures most of its products in China and operates a major research and development center in Shanghai.

She asked Cook to continue expanding Apple's investments in China and to work to help further ties between China and the U.S.

Cook reportedly reiterated that China is an important market for Apple, and indicated that his company is "willing to play a constructive role in U.S.-China cooperation in science and education innovation."

Cook arrived in China earlier this week, just as Apple announced an expansion if its renewable energy program to its supply chain. As part of that initiative, Apple will buy and manage —  along with the World Wildlife Fund —  1 million acres of forest to provide raw fiber for packaging and materials.

The Apple chief previously visited China last fall, touring factories owned by contract manufacturing partner Foxconn and meeting with Vice Premier Ma Kai. Cook later hosted top internet regulator Lu Wei at Apple headquarters in Cupertino in December.