Nation: Social meetings to boost USChina ties
Americans should seize opportunity to know real China: experts
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.”