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China-US relations and the role of people-to-people ties

Metro Matters
Manzar Naqvi

President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping’s recent statement emphasizes the crucial role of collective endeavors in steering the successful trajectory of China-U.S. relations. In his reply to a letter from Sarah Lande, a friend residing in the U.S. state of Iowa, President Xi Jinping underscored the historical journey of the bilateral ties spanning 45 years. He accentuated the significance of people-to-people connections and youth engagement, underscoring their pivotal role in shaping the future of this vital relationship.
Over the last 45 years, China and the United States have been building a strong friendship. Despite facing challenges along the way, their relationship has become even more solid. President Xi described this long journey as similar to a tall, strong tree growing, representing the power and durability of their friendship over time. The teamwork between these two nations has not only been good for China and the U.S., but it has also had positive effects on the entire global community. Their cooperation has created benefits that reach far beyond their borders, making the world a better place for everyone.
President Xi believes that the future of China-U.S. relations depends a lot on the regular people in both countries. He thinks it’s crucial for citizens to have strong connections. To make people from both nations understand each other better, Xi has a big plan. He wants to bring 50,000 young Americans to China for exchange and study programs in the next five years. This is like a Chinese saying that says, “Read 10,000 books and travel 10,000 miles.” It means that direct experience is really important in shaping how we see things. So, President Xi’s initiative is all about giving young people a chance to learn from each other by being in each other’s countries.
Recognizing that the youth hold the key to the future, President Xi’s invitation seeks to provide young Americans with an opportunity to witness China firsthand. By encouraging them to observe, listen, and explore the country with their own senses, the initiative aims to create a nuanced and multi-dimensional understanding of China. Xi expressed his hope that this project would not only build bridges of close affinity but also contribute to a genuine appreciation of China’s diverse culture and society.
President Xi’s inclusive invitation extended beyond a general call, specifically mentioning the students of Muscatine. This personal touch reflects the importance of individual connections and acknowledges the role of specific communities in fostering goodwill between the two nations. It also demonstrates China’s commitment to engaging with a diverse range of Americans, fostering a broader and more comprehensive understanding of China across the United States.
President Xi emphasized that as the largest developing country and the largest developed country in the world, China and the U.S. bear a shared responsibility for the future of the planet. Stressing the need for stability and improvement in their relations, Xi expressed China’s readiness to work with the United States. This collaborative approach, he believes, will not only benefit the two nations but also provide public goods for the international community, contributing to a world characterized by lasting peace, security, common prosperity, openness, and inclusiveness.
Sarah Lande, in her letter to President Xi, welcomed the initiative to invite 50,000 young Americans to China, finding it encouraging and inspiring. She expressed her hope that Muscatine High School, representing a small community in the United States, could actively participate in this transformative program. Lande also echoed the sentiment that major countries like the U.S. and China should address common global challenges together, emphasizing issues such as climate change, food security, drugs, and regional conflicts.
The achievements in China-U.S. relations are not solely the result of diplomatic efforts but also the collective endeavors of the people of both nations. President Xi’s emphasis on youth engagement and people-to-people connections underscores the significance of fostering understanding and friendship at the grassroots level. As China extends its hand in friendship, inviting young Americans to experience the country firsthand, it opens new avenues for mutual respect, cooperation, and shared responsibility on the global stage. Through such initiatives, the foundation for a stable, sound, and sustainable future for China-U.S. relations is being laid, promising benefits not only for the two nations but for the entire world.