China, US celebrate 30 years of their diplomatic ties

January 12th, 2009 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 12 (Xinhua) China and the US Monday kicked off a series of events to mark the 30th year of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.”Like a scroll of vivid historic scenes, these pictures showcased significant progresses in the 30-year of China-US relations and deeply inspired us,” Chinese President Hu Jintao said while inaugurating a photo exhibition organised here to mark the 30 years of China-US relations.

Thanks to the “ping-pong diplomacy” that melted the ice between the two nations, then US President Richard Nixon paid a ground-breaking visit to China in 1972. And the two countries formally established diplomatic relations Jan 1, 1979.

With 360 pictures recalling milestones in bilateral relations, the photo exhibition Monday drew nearly 200 people from the two countries, including some key figures in forging relations like former US president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

From top leaders’ handshakes to US swimmers’ laugh at last summer Olympics, from McDonald’s first store in Beijing to China’s auto show in Detroit, these pictures enabled visitors to relive the landmark moments.

“It is very nostalgic,” said former US ambassador to Beijing Winston Lord, a member of the US delegation during Richard Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to China in 1972.

“The photos brought back many warm and happy memories on working to develop harmonious relationships between the Chinese and the American people,” he added.

In his congratulatory message to the exhibition, US President George W. Bush said the past 30 years had “strengthened the bonds between the two countries”.

Bush said he personally witnessed China’s transformation over the past three decades. “In 1975 I saw a nation just beginning its journey of modernization. In 2008, I was proud to watch Beijing host a successful and thrilling Olympic Games,” he said.

The year-long photo exhibition will be displayed in some Chinese cities, before touring the US, with a finale to be staged in Atlanta-based Cater Centre in December 2009.

On Monday afternoon, a seminar was held to review the past three decades of bilateral ties and look to future relations.

Later in the day, Hu met the US delegation led by Carter on the sidelines of celebrations.

“As old friends of the Chinese people, you played an important role in establishing China-US diplomatic ties and witnessed that historic decision,” Hu told the US delegation.

“For all American citizens, particularly for these leaders, this is a wonderful occasion to celebrate,” Carter said in response.

The former US president also conveyed US president-elect Barack Obama’s greetings to the Chinese leader and said Obama was “committed to continuing the mutual respect and partnership the two nations enjoyed over the past 30 years”.

A reception will be held in the Great Hall of the People Monday evening, with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping hosting guests from the two countries.

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