People-to-people exchanges are cornerstone of China-US relations

By Wu Jianmin People's Daily, February 21, 2012

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's five-day visit to the United States since Feb. 13 has caught great attention from international media. The visit has gone well, with two clear messages sent out through the remarks of Xi and U.S. officials as well as the schedule of the visit.

The first message is that it is the common aspiration of the two countries to see a successful visit. Xi's visit came as the bilateral relations were experiencing some difficulties, and thus has great symbolic power. A successful visit will mean improvement rather than deterioration in China-U.S. relations, and an enhancement rather than weakening of bilateral cooperation.

The second message is that the two countries are determined to build and stick to a cooperative partnership on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. A major outcome of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January 2011 is that he and U.S. President Barack Obama reached a consensus of building a "cooperative partnership on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit." During this visit, Xi and senior U.S. officials reached a new consensus of promoting the healthy development of the China-U.S. cooperative partnership on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit

Xi attaches great importance to exchanges between the people of the two countries, and had extensive contacts with the U.S. people during his visit.

Chinese leaders have long attached great importance to people-to-people exchanges, which are the cornerstone of bilateral relations. At present, some 3 million people travel between the two countries each year. This is just a start, as there is huge space for the number to grow.

Expect for official meetings in Washington, Xi also met and communicated with entrepreneurs of the two countries. Entrepreneurs are the most dynamic powers of the two countries' societies and are also elites of the people of the two countries. The relations between them is very significant for the development the two countries' economic cooperation.

Xi's visit in the State of Iowa attracted a lot of attention. When Xi was the Party chief of Zhengding County of Hebei Province in 1985, he visited Iowa and investigated the agriculture of Iowa during his first trip in the United States. At that time, Xi went to the town of Muscatine, stayed in Sarah Lande's home for two nights and participated in the birthday party of Sarah Lande's little son. Lande arranged him to dwell in the bedroom of one of her children. This time, the old friends met again and they were very happy, and reactions from the public of the United States were very good too.

During Xi's visit, both sides emphasized the importance of future and hoped to strengthen the exchanges between the youths of the two countries. President Barack Obama has a plan to send 100,000 American students to study in China, and China also has a "Three Ten-Thousands" project: Send 10,000 Chinese students to study for doctor's degrees in the United States; the "Chinese Bridge" project will receive 10,000 American students, and offers scholarships for 10,000 American students studying in China.

The projects are far-sighted. Youths are the future of a country, and strengthening exchanges between the youths of the two countries will guarantee the continuity and sustainability of the China-U.S. cooperative partnership.

Xi's visit will greatly promote the exchanges between the peoples of the two countries. The peoples of China and the United States are friends. As the China-U.S. cooperative partnership of mutual respect and mutual trust is being constructed and developed, the exchanges between them will definitely increase, which will deepen the mutual understanding and promote sustainable, steady and healthy development of the cooperative partnership between the two countries.