Join Hands for a Brighter Future of China-US People-to-People Exchange
2011/04/12

Address at the Second Meeting of

The China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange

Washington, D.C., 12 April 2011

Liu Yandong

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

I'm delighted to come to Washington again in this beautiful spring with flowers in full bloom. Two years ago, Secretary Clinton and I met here, and we together envisioned the establishment of a mechanism of China-US people-to-people exchange. One-and-a-half years ago, President Obama paid a visit to China. With a strategic vision, our two presidents made an important decision of establishing a new bilateral mechanism to facilitate people-to-people exchange between the two countries. One year ago in Beijing, Secretary Clinton and I launched this mechanism together. Yesterday, Under Secretary Judith McHale and Vice Minister Hao Ping reviewed the achievements of this mechanism over the past year. The progress is encouraging. Thanks to this mechanism, the people of our two countries, especially the students of elementary schools, high schools, and universities, have been able to appreciate the charm of the diverse cultures of our two countries and experience the joy of getting to know and understand each other. Last January, during President Hu Jintao's successful visit to the United States, the two presidents reached important agreement on building a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. A new chapter of our relations has commenced. The two presidents also made new strategic plans for enhancing people-to-people exchange. The purpose of my visit this time is to work with Secretary Clinton and other American friends, both old and new, to follow up on the agreement reached by our two presidents - to promote China-US people-to-people exchange and push forward the China-US cooperative partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

As an old Chinese saying goes, "The key to sound relations between states lies in amity between the people, and the key to amity between the people lies in heart-to-heart exchange." People-to-people exchange is a bridge for promoting understanding and trust between states and between peoples. It also provides an inexhaustible driving force for deepening China-US relations. At present, there are rare opportunities for our relations and people-to-people exchange.

I'm most happy that after eight hours of intensive consultations yesterday, our two teams identified more than 40 outcomes in six fields, namely education, science and technology, culture, women's issues, youth and sports. Based on these outcomes, we can set out to explore new areas, initiate new programs and create new bright spots in our cooperation. At this moment, I am deeply convinced that the seeds of people-to-people exchange sown by our two presidents are sprouting, taking roots and showing strong vigor and vitality. The spring of China-US people-to-people exchange is here!

Here, I wish to express my gratitude to the two presidents for their vision, to both our teams for their extraordinary dedication and collaboration, and to the people, Chinese and Americans across the sectors, for their active involvement. I also want to, in particular, thank you, Madame Secretary, for your outstanding contribution.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

China-US relations in the new era call for new ideas and new development of people-to-people exchange. First, people-to-people exchange should be people-oriented. We should work hard to build a structure of people-to-people exchange that involves both the governments and the people, and welcomes various kinds of players. Our exchange should be open, and our people should be the main participants. We should carry out wide-ranging exchange activities with clear priorities and invite people across sectors to join in our worthy cause of friendship and cooperation.

Second, our people-to-people exchange should be world-oriented. We should always aim at promoting world peace and development, and act in the spirit of mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness. We should learn from each other, draw on each other's strength through exchange and seek common ground while reserving differences. We should set an example of relations between states that are different in culture, level of development and social system, and make the 21st century one that is truly peaceful, harmonious and prosperous.

Third, our people-to-people exchange should be future-oriented. We should keep pace with the times, take innovative actions, and raise consciousness of the importance of people-to-people exchange, which is vital to everlasting friendship between us. I'm particularly pleased that the two sides have agreed to incorporate women's exchange and dialogue into our people-to-people exchange mechanism. We should also lay special emphasis on increasing understanding and friendship between the young people of the two countries so that our friendship will be passed down from generation to generation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

More than two hundred years ago, the Empress of China left Boston for China, heralding the start of friendly exchange between China and the United States. Over sixty years ago, China and the United States fought side by side against fascist aggression. More than 30 million Chinese made the ultimate sacrifice for this noble cause. Over 2,000 American aviation personnel laid down their lives on Chinese soil. Their moving stories are still being told. I have kept an old photograph which tells about how my father, an army commander during the war against Japanese aggression, and his soldiers risked their lives to rescue American pilots. During the rescue operation, three Chinese soldiers gave their lives. Forty years ago, the door of exchange between China and the United States was reopened thanks to the "ping-pong diplomacy". The small ball gave a push to the big globe. Since then, China-US relations have embarked on the journey of improvement and development. Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with a number of trailblazers, builders, and witnesses of the over forty years of China-US relations, including Dr. Kissinger, Dr. Brzezinski, and General Scowcroft. We reviewed the remarkable path of our relations and envisioned an even brighter future. We all believe that thanks to the efforts of several generations of leaders of the two countries, the China-US relationship has become one of the most vibrant, promising and strategically influential bilateral relationships in the world. A relationship based on mutual respect and mutual benefit will not only bring benefits to the people of China the United States, but also contribute to world peace, stability, and prosperity in a significant way.

The China-US relationship has entered a new stage of building a cooperative partnership. The people-to-people exchange carries the ardent expectations of the two presidents as well as the people of the two countries and around the world. It is part of the important mission of developing China-US relations and promoting world peace and development.

Madame Secretary,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Spring is the season for sowing. It is also the season of hope. Today, we have reviewed the past and looked ahead to the future, making plans for China-US people-to-people exchange. We have heavy responsibility upon our shoulders, yet we are full of confidence. I firmly believe that with commitment and care of both sides, the seedlings of China-US people-to-people exchange will grow stronger, and the tree of China-US friendship will take its roots in our peoples, have full foliage and bear rich fruits. Let us join hands to build a brighter future for the people-to-people exchange and relationship between China and the United States.

Thank you.

 

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