Na­tion: So­cial meet­ings to boost USChina ties

Amer­i­cans should seize op­por­tu­nity to know real China: ex­perts

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Yang Sheng

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump met vis­it­ing Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yan­dong in the White House on Thurs­day, with the two sides pledg­ing to pro­mote so­cial and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion.

Ex­perts said on Fri­day that the scale of th­ese ex­changes is huge but com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs to be more bal­anced to avoid mu­tual de­mo­niza­tion.

“We hope both sides can achieve the full po­ten­tial of the peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change, and con­tinue to re­in­force the so­cial and public opin­ion foun­da­tion of China-US re­la­tion­ship,” Liu said at the meet­ing with Trump, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported on Fri­day.

Through joint ef­forts, Liu noted, the first China-US so­cial and peo­ple-to- peo­ple dia­logue in Washington DC on Thurs­day achieved sound re­sults.

Co-chaired by Liu and US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, the dia­logue was one of four high-level di­a­logues es­tab­lished dur­ing the Mar-a-Lago meet­ing be­tween Chinese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Trump in April.

China would love to work with the US to make Trump’s state visit to China this year suc­cess­ful , Liu said at the meet­ing with Trump in the White House on Thurs­day, Xin­hua re­ported.

Trump said he is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing Xi in China again and he be­lieved that the visit will be suc­cess­ful and ex­tremely im­por­tant for strength­en­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes. He said he hoped both sides could fur­ther ex­tend ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion in dif­fer­ent ar­eas, Xin­hua re­ported.

Ex­pert be­lieve that in fu­ture ex­changes both coun­tries need to help Amer­i­cans learn more about mod­ern China.

“Peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change has a very im­por­tant sta­tus in the his­tory of Sino-US re­la­tions. The be­gin­ning of the nor­mal­iza­tion of bi­lat­eral ties in the 1970s started with ‘Ping-Pong diplo­macy’,” said Diao Dam­ing, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at Ren­min Univer­sity of China in Bei­jing. “Ad­di­tion­ally, ev­ery time bi­lat­eral ties face chal­lenges, so­cial and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes have al­ways played a role of heal­ing dam­age.”

Thou­sands of Amer­i­cans study at Chinese uni­ver­si­ties, Diao noted, but “hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chinese” stud­ied at US uni­ver­si­ties. “The ex­change is not very bal­anced,” he said, “mean­ing we know more about Amer­ica than Amer­i­cans know about China. There­fore, we hope the both gov­ern­ments can help Amer­i­cans learn more about China and not fo­cus solely on its an­cient cul­ture and his­tory but also learn about the great achieve­ments we have made in mod­ern China.”

More than 5 mil­lion tourists trav­eled be­tween China and the US in 2016, said An Gang, a mem­ber of the aca­demic com­mit­tee at the Pan­goal In­sti­tu­tion, a Bei­jing-based think tank.

“This re­mark­able ex­change is not en­tirely driven by the gov­ern­ments. Peo­ple from both coun­tries share a strong mo­ti­va­tion to in­crease mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and ex­change,” An said. “The scale of peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change is huge, but many peo­ple from the both sides still treat each other as the big­gest threat. We should avoid de­mo­niz­ing each other.”

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