BEIJING, Nov. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The healthy and stable development of China-US relations not only safeguards the fundamental interests of the people of both countries but also aligns with the common expectations of the international community, said Yang Wanming, head of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), during an exclusive interview with the Global Times.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Joe Biden recently in San Francisco where the two established the “San Francisco vision” oriented toward the future, providing direction and outlining a blueprint for the healthy, stable, and sustainable development of China-US relations.
Xi said that China is ready to invite 50,000 young Americans to China on exchange and study programs in the next five years to increase exchanges between the two peoples, especially between the youth.
“Amity between the people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. As President Xi has emphasized on different occasions this year, noting that the hope of the China-US relationship lies in the people, its foundation is in our societies, and the source of strength lies in the friendship between the two peoples,” said Yang.
As an organization engaged in people-to-people diplomacy in China, the CPAFFC aims to enhance people’s friendship, further international cooperation, safeguard world peace and promote common development. It has established friendly cooperation relationship with about 400 NGOs and institutions in more than 150 countries.
Vibrant exchanges landscape
To deepen the exchanges between the peoples of China and the US, the CPAFFC has taken the initiative to proactively facilitate various events.
The CPAFFC invited the Flying Tigers to return to China after 80 years for a 10-day visit in early November. A delegation of more than 30 people visited various cities in China and left many touching moments.
Unlike in China, the stories of the Flying Tigers may not be very well known in the US. They are a group of volunteer US pilots who came to China in 1941, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Chinese people to fight against Japanese aggressors.
More than 2,000 US pilots gave their lives during the war. The Chinese people also provided Flying Tigers with assistance at all costs. More than 200 pilots in distress were rescued, with thousands of Chinese people giving their lives during the rescue operations. Two of those valiant pilots, Harry Moyer and Melvin McMullen, aged 103 and 98 respectively, made it to China for the most recent CPAFFC-organized event.
Yang pointed out that it was a commemorative moment to learn from the glorious history of the Flying Tigers during the war, and a chance to enhance exchanges between the youth of both countries, carry forward the spirit of the Flying Tigers, and foster friendly ties between the peoples of China and the US, making further contributions to the cause of peace.
Also, in early November, the fifth China-US Sister Cities Conference themed “Build Green Cities for the People,” co-hosted by the CPAFFC and the Jiangsu provincial government, was held in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province.
The vitality of China-US relations comes from exchanges at sub-national levels. Yang noted that the China-US Sister Cities Conference has been successfully held five times thus far and has become an important platform for Chinese and American cities to strengthen exchanges and cooperation, and to enhance friendship.
“Sister cities’ interactions and exchanges leverage unique local resources and use art, cuisine, local culture and folk customs as mediums. By actively mobilizing various resources and involving as many people as possible in sister city exchanges, these activities are more targeted, organized, planned and sustainable. They are beneficial to the systematic introduction of each other’s culture, social customs and policy concepts, promote mutual understanding and respect between the peoples of the two countries, and play a fundamental role in maintaining China-US relations,” he said.
Looking toward future
Civilizations are like water, moistening everything silently. Diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development. People-to-people exchanges are the strongest force in advancing mutual learning among different civilizations.
“No two leaves in the world are identical, and no histories, cultures, or social systems are the same. The languages, thoughts and lifestyles of the Chinese and American people are different, but our aspirations for cultural exchange and mutual learning between the two civilizations are the same. The recent visit of the Philadelphia Orchestra to China, which was very well received, is the best proof of this,” said Yang.
In November, the Philadelphia Orchestra performed a 50th anniversary concert in Beijing. They later performed in Tianjin, Suzhou and Shanghai. The orchestra is a vivid witness to the friendship between the two peoples of China and the US, and continues to carry on the legacy of non-governmental exchanges through music.
“More Americans from all walks of life, especially the young are welcomed to visit China,” said Yang.
Among those who came to visit China with the Flying Tigers veterans was Jackson Long, the 15-year-old great-grandson of Flying Tiger Clifford Long Sr. As a member of the young generation who is expected to carry forward the legacy of friendship, he told the media during his visit that China is “a lot different” from the impression he has gained from the US media and politicians.
“You can’t really grasp everything about China just by looking at social media… you have to be here to experience all the amazing different cultures that China has to offer,” he said.
Moving forward, Yang introduced that CPAFFC will step up efforts to promote cultural exchanges among Chinese and American youths, inviting both to learn about each other’s cultures and experience the civilizations of China and the US through their first-hand experiences.
“After all, the future of the China-US relationship depends on the youth,” he concluded.
SOURCE Global Times