Adviser expresses confidence in China-US friendship

A political adviser expressed confidence in the solidarity of people-to-people friendship between China and the United States despite challenges in bilateral relations, saying that both peoples believe that the two sides “cannot run into conflict, confrontation or war”.

Lin Songtian, who served as ambassador to multiple countries including South Africa and Malawi, is currently president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. He said in an interview with China Daily that the only option for Beijing and Washington is to work together for a shared future.

Lin, who returned from a 10-day trip to the US in February, said he had extensive meetings with people from various sectors of US society, and the hospitality he received “went far beyond imagination”.

“I feel the bright future in people-to-people exchanges between China and the US,” said Lin, who is also a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

He described his visit as a “door-knocking” trip to the US, his first visit since taking office as the CPAFFC president in 2020, during which he held in-depth exchanges with politicians, business executives and think tank experts.

“We have one consensus that China-US relations matter in promoting world peace and prosperity and the future of humanity,” he said.

He noted that China-US relations are built upon a solid people-to-people foundation — 284 pairs of friendship cities or provinces/states have been established, and mutual visits reached 5 million per year before COVID-19.

“We expect both governments to follow the people’s call and create positive conditions and atmosphere to bring our bilateral relations back to the normal track and bring our two peoples together for a shared future,” he said.

As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, Lin envisions a stronger role for people-to-people diplomacy in enhancing the development of the initiative going forward.

He underscored that the BRI is inclusive rather than exclusive, and stays open to all nations, including the US.

“We have no reason to deny such a productive initiative,” he said.

He said the CPAFFC will seek to employ its strength in people-to-people engagement, better leverage the platform of friendship cities and contribute to the implementation of the BRI.

As a national political adviser, Lin is set to appeal for greater efforts to better tell the stories of China this year.

He explained that a lack of people-to-people exchanges has aggravated the problem of China being wrongly presented or misunderstood in the world.

Lin spoke out against some Western politicians who’ve never visited China but keep “lecturing about China”. “They have a lot of academic degrees or diplomas, but no ‘passport’,” he said jokingly.

“We believe seeing is believing. We’d like to invite more and more friends to come to China to have a look to see the whole picture of China,” he said.

He highlighted the need to encourage the Chinese people, including senior officials, to beef up efforts to make the voices of China better heard. China Daily

Categories China