As the 6th China-U.S. High- Level Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) is set to take place in Washington on June 23-24 focusing on bilateral cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, women and youth, Chinese students in the U.S. said intensified communication between the two countries helps boost cooperation and understanding between world's two large economies.
According to Wang Zhengjun, a PhD student at West Virginia University, the high-level mechanism for people-to-people exchange, which was first set up in 2010, has become a bridge for communication between the two peoples.
"In the city of Morgantown, West Virginia, where my university is located, nearly half of the elementary schools, middle schools and high schools have already opened Chinese-language courses," Wang told Xinhua, adding that exchange programs between educational institutions in West Virginia and Chinese cities has seen a remarkable boost in the past years.
"Take my university as example, it is currently involved in student exchange programs with more than 20 universities in China, " said Wang.
As an important part of cultural exchange, Confucius Institutes in the United States have become a crucial platform for people-to- people exchange programs between China and the U.S.. Currently, there are 107 Confucius Institutes and 451 Confucius Classrooms in America, enrolling 300,000 students. The rapid development of people-to-people exchange has borne fruitful results, said Li Kuijun, another PhD candidate at West Virginia University.
"The past several years have witnessed the surge of a series of cultural exchange between China and America," said Li. "Local people's enthusiasm for China and Chinese culture is unprecedented. "
According to Li, an increasing number of Americans who study the Chinese language in his university have expressed willingness to enroll in exchange programs to Chinese universities after getting to know Chinese culture and Chinese people here in the United States.
Although development has been made in China-U.S. relations in the past decade, there are still thorny issues. How to avoid "the Thucydides trap", where an established power becomes so anxious about the rise of a new power that a struggle leading to war becomes inevitable, becomes an urgent task for both sides.
The recent U.S.-China tension on the South China Sea issue is a case in point. While China reiterates that the U.S. is not a party in the disputes and should therefore not interfere, some politicians in Washington again resorted to scaremongering, exaggerating the threat of a rising China. For Li, enhanced people- to-people exchange will help reduce misunderstanding of China among the U.S. public.
"Thanks to cultural exchanges between the two countries, an increasing number of Americans become familiar with Chinese culture and views. A mutual understanding will help ease friction between the two sides," he added.
Calling people-to-people exchange a "profound form of opening- up to the outside world" for China, Li said the exchange between Chinese students studying in the U.S. and local people is conducive for the American people to understand Chinese history, which in turn leads to their understanding of Chinese policies on issues of significance to China.