Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday he believes the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama will expand common interests of the United States and China.
Carter, 84, flew to central China's Hubei Province after attending a series of events in Beijing to mark the 30th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic ties.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (2nd L, front) and his wife (3rd L, front) pose in front of a local medical center at a village in Hong'an County, central China's Hubei Province, on Jan. 14, 2009. [Wei Mengjia/Xinhua]
He visited a memorial hall for Li Xiannian, who was Chinese president from June 1983 to April 1988. The memorial hall is located in Hong'an County, the hometown of Li.
Carter said the two countries had witnessed rapid growth in cooperation, and U.S.-China ties had become the most important bilateral link in the world.
Meeting with Hubei Governor Li Hongzhong, Carter said he felt very proud of the decision with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to resume ties.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (L) receives a souvenir from Li Hongzhong, governor of Hubei Province, in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Jan. 14, 2009. [Wei Mengjia/Xinhua]
Carter said a deeper U.S.-China friendship helped to maintain peace and stability in the whole world.
He said China's reform and opening-up policy brought about dramatic changes, creating an economic miracle. Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese leaders had indeed changed China with their wisdom.
Calling Carter an old friend of the Chinese people, the governor appreciated the former U.S. president's important role in forging bilateral ties. He called for closer economic and cultural cooperation between both countries.
Carter is scheduled to fly to Shanghai on Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2009)