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Chinese Minister Calls for Sino-US Cultural Exchanges

China and the United States should enhance cultural exchanges to promote the heart-to-heart communication between the peoples of both countries, Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng said in Washington on Monday.

In a keynote speech at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, Sun said there are many differences between China and the Untied States which will undoubtedly bring about some confrontations and friction, but it is these differences that have produced great curiosity and mutual appeal between the two countries.

"Without such differences, the world might become more tranquil, but at the same time, to a large extent, it would lose its glories and fall into monotony," he said.

Sun was in Washington to inaugurate the month-long Festival of China at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, which opened on Saturday.

He said China and the United Sates share common interests in many areas, such as economy, trade, anti-terrorism, international and regional security, and culture. "The two countries can learn from each other in many areas," he noted.

The development of Sino-US cultural relations, he said, is still not in perfect balance, and the American public's understanding of China and Chinese culture still has room for improvement.

China imported a large quantity of TV plays and movies in 2004, with 40-50 percent of them from the United States, whereas China's export of cultural products to the United States was insignificant, the minister said.

Sun cautioned that there are some people who tend to exaggerate the differences and friction between the two countries and the two cultures, while overlooking their common interests and compatibility.

"It is natural and not surprising for any two nations to have differences or conflicts, but what matters most is that we should solve these conflicts and problems on the principle of candidness, sincerity, reciprocity, mutual respect and equal consultations," he said.

At home, the Chinese government pledges to build a harmonious society, securing peace, tranquility and the well-being and happiness for all the Chinese people, while in the world, China sticks to the peaceful foreign policy of independence and self-reliance, seeking friendly relations with all other countries in their common pursuit for peace, cooperation and common development, he said.

Sun noted that China stands for the independence of all nations' cultures and also the diversity of world cultures, advocates the concepts of "cherishing peace and harmony, preserving solidarity in diversity and pursuing common development."

China will integrate itself into the world with more open gestures and further expand international culture exchanges, he pledged.

Cultural exchanges will not only bring enormous economic benefits, but also immense social benefits. Cultural exchanges can reach deep into people's minds with a lasting and profound effect, he said.

China and the Untied States should enhance communication and find the differences and similarities between the two cultures, and embrace the connections and concord of the two cultures in all their diversity, he said.

Sun called for open minds and open hearts in the exchanges between China and the United States.

Citing Martin Luther King's famous speech I Have a Dream, Sun said people today share King's dream "that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight."

"We firmly believe that art and culture, as the greatest vehicle for human emotions, can best express our dreams," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 4, 2005)

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