(Left to right) Kenneth Chiu, founder and president of American Chinese Development Center, James Sanders Jr., chairman of the New York Senate's banking committee, Huang Ping, China's Consul General in New York, David Carlucci, New York State Senator, and William Su, chairman of Myanmar Chinese Association of New York Inc. pose for a photo on Tuesday in New York State Capitol before the Senate passed a resolution to designate Oct 1 as "China Day". (KONG WENZHENG / China Daily)
The New York State Senate on Tuesday passed by voice vote a resolution to designate October 1 as "China Day", a move that lawmakers said celebrates the enduring friendship between China and the Empire State.
"It is very critical that we remind the American people and the Chinese people" of the long-standing bilateral relationship that is "important in a day like today, where there is enough tension in the air," said James Sanders Jr., chairman of the Senate's banking committee, who introduced the resolution.
The resolution recognizes the years-long diplomatic tie between China and the US, which was established to "advance mutual security and commercial interests between the US and China", the document reads.
Huang Ping, China's Consul General in New York who was invited to the Senate, said the resolution comes at a special moment, when China is to celebrate its 70th anniversary and the US-China relationship celebrating its 40th anniversary, and it carries significant meaning.
It highlights the economic relationship both on the national level, with China growing to be US' largest trading partner, and between China and the State of New York.
In 2018, China was New York's eighth-largest export market with more than $3.4 billion in exports. It was also the largest importer to the state, according to the US Census Bureau.
"The bilateral trade and investment have created tens of thousands of jobs in the State of New York," the resolution says.
"As a chair of banking, I understand how important China is to the economy of New York State," said Sanders, who called the relationship "precious". Such trade and overall business activities are "breaking down walls of misunderstanding" between the nations, he added.
"We've got a lot of great products that are made here in New York State" that want a market, State Senator David Carlucci told China Daily.
"And what's a better market than China" with more than a billion people "strong and growing that we can work together?" he added.
Such recognition comes at a time when on the national level, China and the US are engaged in a year-long trade dispute that has led to hundreds of billions of dollars in goods from both sides hit with tariffs of up to 25 percent.
"It's important for us to recognize that regardless of what we've seen happening on the federal level," as state legislators we should do our part "in maintaining this relationship with China," Carlucci said on the Senate floor.
Sanders identified areas in which New York could seek further business cooperation with China. As China is one of the world's leading manufacturers of solar energy systems, it is "well-situated" for a state that is going green, he said.
"Yes, the US can do it, but it's going to be slower. We would lose years in a struggle that we don't need to lose," he said of the fight against climate change.
"If China is reaching out its hand, we should grab it, and let it start in the Empire State," he added, suggesting the two sides work together on the world's "major problems".
New York's China Day coincides with the National Day in the People's Republic of China, when this year the country will mark its 70th anniversary.
Apart from recognizing the bilateral relationship between the nations with China Day, the resolution also dedicated the first week of this October as Chinese American Heritage Week, celebrating the contributions made by the Chinese-American community to the state over the decades.
"We've been blessed including so many Chinese Americans working in New York, staying, living, raising families, contributing to our economy," Carlucci told the Senate.
The resolution acknowledged the community's participation in the transcontinental railroad, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, and in World War II.
Kenneth Chiu, founder and president of the American Chinese Development Center, who has been dedicated to pushing the resolution, said: "Today, I feel even more proud being Chinese, even more proud being American and super proud being Chinese American."
"For the first time ever, the Chinese Americans in New York [are] being recognized for all the contributions that we have sacrificed to make," he said.