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For Closer Bonds Between Chinese and American People

2015/06/23

By Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
For USA Today

As I am looking forward to my visit to the United States to co-chair, with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Sixth Annual China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) themed Mutual Learning and Win-Win Cooperation, I would like to convey my sincere greetings and best wishes to the American people.

Although China and the United States are far from each other geographically, the people of our two countries have nonetheless a long history of friendly exchanges. More than 200 years ago, the U.S. commercial vessel the Empress of China visited Guangzhou Port of China, opening the history of exchanges between the two peoples.

More than 70 years ago, China and the United States fought shoulder to shoulder against fascist forces. After achieving victory, the two nations, together with other countries including Britain, France and the former Soviet Union, founded the United Nations.

More than 40 years ago, Chinese and American table tennis players paved the way for the establishment of official relations between the People's Republic and the United States via "ping-pong diplomacy."

Over the years, despite twists and turns in our bilateral ties, people-to-people exchanges have never ceased. Particularly in the face of global challenges such as climate change, natural disasters and terrorism, our two governments and peoples have worked together hand in hand.

Since last year, both our countries have assisted African countries in their fight against Ebola, and won widespread acclaim from the international community.

In 2009, the Presidents of our two countries promoted the launch of CPE, putting in place a broader platform for friendly exchanges between our people.

In the past six years, nearly 300 programs have been launched under the CPE to promote exchanges in the areas of education, science and technology, culture, sports, women, youth and subnational cooperation, all of which have yielded substantial results.

At present, there is one flight taking off or landing between China and the United States every 17 minutes. The year 2014 saw a total of 4.3 million trips made by Chinese and American people across the Pacific Ocean.

During the past six years, a total of 490,000 Chinese youngsters have studied in the United States, more than 100,000 American youngsters have studied in China. Last year alone, 75 Chinese universities hosted approximately 12,000 American scholars, and 217 symposiums were held jointly by China and the United States. So far, there are more than 240 pairs of sister provinces, states and cities between our two countries. Indeed, the growth of people-to-people exchanges between our two countries is unprecedented in history.

This year, people-to-people exchanges between our countries are even more colorful, as exemplified by such events as the China-U.S. Young Maker Competition, the Second China-U.S. University President Roundtable, the Seventh China-U.S. Women's Leadership Exchange and Dialogue, China-U.S. Symposium on Ebola and Global Health and Safety, a joint promotion of cardio pulmonary resuscitation training, and a joint photo exhibition on World War II.

I sincerely hope that with meticulous care from the two sides, the tree of people-to-people exchanges between our two countries will grow bigger and bear even larger fruits.

As an old saying in China goes, only heart-to-heart exchanges can last long. Although China and the United States differ in terms of culture and political systems, as long as we open up our hearts to each other, respect each other, and seek common ground while putting aside differences, we can bridge any gap and usher in a more promising future for our bilateral ties.

China is looking forward to working with the United States to promote people-to-people exchanges, enhance mutual political trust, and deepen economic cooperation and trade. Progress in these fields will be inter-related and mutually reinforcing. Let us do more to build a new type of major-country relationship, so as to make the life of our peoples more beautiful and the world at large more peaceful and prosperous.

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