Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who will co-chair with US Secretary of State John Kerry the sixth Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) on Tuesday, said that China and the United States should put aside differences and "open up our hearts to each other" to seek common ground for world peace and prosperity.
"Over the years, despite twists and turns in our bilateral ties, people-to-people exchanges have never ceased. Particularly in the face of global challenges such as climate change, natural disasters and terrorism, our two governments and peoples have worked together hand in hand," said Liu in an op-ed piece published Monday on the website of USA Today.
Liu noted that the two countries have a long history of friendly exchanges that started more than 200 years ago when the US commercial vessel the Empress of China visited Guangzhou Port of China.
"So far, there are more than 240 pairs of sister provinces, states and cities between our two countries," Liu said. "Indeed, the growth of people-to-people exchanges between our two countries is unprecedented in history."
She also recalled that "more than 70 years ago, China and the United States fought shoulder to shoulder against fascist forces. After achieving victory, the two nations, together with other countries - including Britain, France and the former Soviet Union - founded the United Nations".
Liu said that in the past six years, nearly 300 programs have been launched under the CPE to promote exchanges in education, science and technology, culture, sports, women, youth and subnational cooperation, "all of which have yielded substantial results".
She said that a flight takes off or lands between China and the US every 17 minutes, and that in 2014 a total of 4.3 million trips were made by Chinese and Americans across the Pacific Ocean.
In the last six years, Liu said, 490,000 Chinese have studied in the US and more than 100,000 American have studied in China. "Last year alone, 75 Chinese universities hosted approximately 12,000 American scholars, and 217 symposiums were held jointly by China and the United States," she added.
Liu said that this year's CPE will include dialogues and exchanges between artists, university presidents, women leaders and youngsters of China and the US. Scientists and experts of both countries will explore better ways to address growing global health and safety challenges, such as Ebola, and to promote cardio pulmonary resuscitation training in China.
"I sincerely hope that with meticulous care from the two sides, the tree of people-to-people exchanges between our two countries will grow bigger and bear even larger fruits," Liu said. "China is looking forward to working with the United States to promote people-to-people exchanges, enhance mutual political trust and deepen economic cooperation and trade."
Liu concluded her piece by saying: "As an old saying in China goes, only heart-to-heart exchanges can last long. Although China and the United States differ in terms of culture and political systems, as long as we open up our hearts to each other, respect each other and seek common ground while putting aside differences, we can bridge any gap and usher in a more promising future for our new model of major-country relationship. This will not only benefit our two peoples, but also contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world."