China is willing to work with the US to advance people-to-people exchanges and cement the public support for the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday when asked about recent signs of warming in China-US people-to-people exchanges.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reply came after the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of China-US Ping-Pong Diplomacy held in New York on Tuesday, as well as Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang’s visit to a university and an elementary school in Utah last week.
In response to whether more robust people-to-people exchanges between China and the US will come about following the meeting of Chinese and US leaders in Bali, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China-US people-to-people exchange is very important, and the two sides need to encourage the expansion of such exchange in all sectors.
“This is a common understanding reached between the two presidents at their meeting in Bali,” Mao pointed out.
Despite the fact that China and the US are two countries with different histories, cultures, social systems and development paths, such differences should not become an obstacle to trust and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples, still less to growing China-US relations, Mao emphasized.
“No matter what happens in the world and China-US relations, people will always remember the love and friendship they have with each other. The profound goodwill in those words is truly touching,” said Mao at a regular press brief on Thursday.
Mao said that she had noticed that American players who had participated in Ping-Pong Diplomacy expressed hopes that people-to-people exchange will continue to add momentum to the growth of China-US relations, and at the event in Utah’s Brigham Young University, one guest who was a member of the university’s artistic group that visited China in 1979 said that the continuing friendship with China and the Chinese people has become the most precious part of life.
On Tuesday, the America China Public Affairs Institute and USA Table Tennis jointly commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Ping-Pong Diplomacy at the Yale Club of New York City. Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping had a fireside chat with officials and members from the National Committee on United States-China Relations and USA Tennis Hall of Famers.
Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang last week visited Utah’s Brigham Young University, whose artistic group was the first from the US to visit China after the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations. Qin also visited Utah’s Cascade Elementary School, which was one of the first batch of schools in Utah to offer Chinese language courses.
On April 10, 1971, after participating in the World Table Tennis Championships in Nagoya, Japan, and at the invitation from China, the US table tennis team became the first US delegation to visit the Chinese mainland since 1949. This visit was an ice-breaking trip for both countries, opening the door to China-US exchanges which had been shut for 22 years. This move was portrayed by scholars as “Ping-Pong Diplomacy.”