Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao spoke highly of the friendship and good cooperation between the Chinese and American people when he was interviewed by Leonard Downie, executive editor of the US newspaper, The Washington Post, at Zhongnanhai in Beijing Friday.
During the opening remarks, Wen said he would visit the United States in a few days and wished to convey through The Washington Post his cordial greetings and best wishes to the great American people.
Wen recalled that only a couple of days after the September 11 Incident in 2001 he was receiving delegates to an international financial conference in Beijing. And among them there was one lady expert from the United States.
"She looked very sad and lonely, so I extended my hand to her and expressed my sympathy, and I also asked her to convey my solicitude to the American people," Wen said.
China and the United States, two great nations, have had exchanges for over 200 years and across three centuries, said the premier, who remembered so well so many touching stories about the profound friendship and good cooperation between the two peoples.
In the 1860s, he said, Chinese workers, by tens of thousands, went to the United States to build the trans-continental railroad that links the east and west coast. The Chinese workers defied starvation and cold and worked for very meager income. Many other workers could not endure the harsh conditions. Only the Chinese workers stuck it out to the very end. Many, many Chinese workers lost their lives in the process of construction and there were too many to count.
"It was recorded in history that the last sleeper was laid by four Chinese workers," Wen said.
Hence, in 1991, the state of Illinois sent a delegation to Shanghai solely for the purpose of building a monument with 3,000 railway spikes and they said that the contribution of Chinese workers was essential in linking the east and west coasts and promoting national unity of the United States, he said.
The premier also remembered very well that from May 1942 to September 1945, a group of young American pilots from the famous Flying Tiger squadron flew the Hump Route to support China during the war against fascism.
The Hump Route was famous for its danger and in those years more than 500 planes crashed, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 Chinese and American pilots. That route was also known as the aluminum trail for the wreckage of crashed planes glittering in the sunlight.
"However, that route is a testimony to the cooperation between the Chinese and the Americans," Wen said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2003)