Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and US Secretary of State John Kerry greet members of the Beijing Normal University women’s soccer team at the National Museum in Beijing on June 7 during the China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.[Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]
People-to-people exchange is one of the three important pillars of China-US relations in the new era, along with mutual trust and economic and trade cooperation, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said during an annual high-level discussion on June 7.
“People-to-people exchange has had a fruitful result and has played a remarkable role in building a new type of cooperative relationship with the United States,” Liu said during the plenary session of the seventh annual US-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.
“China and the US have far more common interests than differences,” Liu said.
The people-to-people consultation, co-chaired by Liu and US Secretary of State John Kerry, has expanded to seven fields, including education, science and health, from four in 2010 when it was initiated in Beijing.
According to Liu, during the past six years, the number of Chinese students in the US has doubled, reaching 600,000. The number of Chinese tourists has reached 3 million, up from 700,000 in 2010. More than 27 million people from both countries have participated in the people-to-people exchange program.
Hao Ping, Chinese vice-minister of education, said 12 cooperation agreements were signed during this year’s session, and events included a forum among think tanks from China and the US and a soccer game between female college students from the two countries.
Kerry praised the progress the two countries have made in education, health and cultural exchanges in the past six years.
“This is how we really change things: Change the relationship between two countries,” he said.
According to Kerry, more than 22,000 students from the US are currently studying in China. By 2020, 1 million US citizens are expected to study Mandarin as part of the White House’s One Million Strong Initiative.
Before the plenary session, Liu and Kerry visited young innovators from both countries who displayed their products in the National Museum.
The innovators were participants in the 2015 China-US Young Makers Competition, one of the most important events of the exchange.
First prize went to a fitness tracker designed by five students from Tsinghua University. The product, which uses magnets to attach to traditional iron weights, records the type, weight and repetitions of strength-training exercises.
Three groups from the US also showed their products, including a headlight to ensure cycling safety and a device that alerts drivers when fatigue occurs.
About 2,000 young innovators from China and the US entered the competition, submitting nearly 500 projects.